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Tips for Beginner Inventors

The following steps can save you time and money. They are meant to be only a brief explanation of the more basic prudent steps.

STEP 1. Record your invention in a bound notebook, or on a single piece of paper. Write a description of your invention including all of its key elements. Describe how it works and any special features. Have this document signed and witnessed by one or two of your friends or colleagues (not related to you). They must write “I have read and understand the above,” sign and date. A standard notarization alone will not work. The “read and understood” statement must be included. This is used to prove your date of conception and is the first important element in protecting your idea. Also, have your witnesses sign an agreement of confidentiality. Sample Confidential Disclosure Agreement form

STEP 2. After you have satisfied yourself that there is nothing else on the market exactly like your idea, perform your own informal patent search or have a formal patent search performed for you.

STEP 3. Determine whether there is a potential market for your invention. Create a commercialization plan and enlist the efforts of professionals that can best help you.

STEP 4. Consider making a patent application in the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO). DO NOT PUBLICLY DISCLOSE YOUR INVENTION BEFORE LEARNING THE RAMIFICATIONS! Seek the advice of a Registered Patent Professional.

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