Protecting Intellectual Property

The first thing most people think about when they consider protecting their invention is getting a patent. While patents are a critical part of the protection process, don’t get in too big of a hurry to file for a patent because there are other things to be considered as well.

Be very cautious about who you discuss your invention with unless you protect it to a practical degree first. At a minimum, get a non-disclosure and preferably a non-disclosure/non-compete agreement signed between you and the person you are telling about the invention.


Contract that simply says the person who signs the agreement cannot discuss the invention with anyone else or they are responsible for any damages you may incur due to them discussing it.

Non-Disclosure/Non-Compete Agreement

The same contract as a non-disclosure but also prevents the person from developing your invention and competing with you for market share. This is a much more powerful contract than a simple non-disclosure agreement.


There are different types of patents. The costs for patents vary dramatically depending on several details but you can usually start protecting your invention for as little as $65.00. Utility patents can run several thousands of dollars. In some cases, it may be important to apply for multiple patents.

    • By far the most popular type of patent for inventors other than possibly a PPA.
    • Protects the way an article works.
    • What can be patented with a utility patent?
      • Machines, which are generally composed of moving parts (such as a clock or an engine).
      • Articles of manufacture, which are generally useful items with few or no moving parts (such as a screwdriver or bolt).
      • Processes, which are stepwise methods (including software and methods of doing business).
      • Compositions of matter, which include compounds and mixtures (such as man-made proteins and pharmaceuticals).
    • Can cost from a few thousand dollars to tens of thousands of dollars or even more.
    • Protects the way an article looks.
    • The United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) defines a design as “A design consists of the visual ornamental characteristics embodied in, or applied to, an article of manufacture. “
    • The United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) defines what a design patent can be applied for;
      • “Since a design is manifested in appearance, the subject matter of a design patent application may relate to the configuration or shape of an article, to the surface ornamentation applied to an article, or to the combination of configuration and surface ornamentation. A design for surface ornamentation is inseparable from the article to which it is applied and cannot exist alone. It must be a definite pattern of surface ornamentation, applied to an article of manufacture.”
    • defines what a plant patent can be applied for:
      • “…has invented or discovered and asexually reproduced a distinct and new variety of plant, other than a tuber propagated plant or a plant found in an uncultivated state.”
    • Protects a name, slogan, or symbol that identifies a business or brand.
    • If the invention’s name or logo is important to the invention, a trademark would probably be a good idea.
    • Trademarks can help sell an invention to a company for licensing.

Start to Finish Inventions Corp can help you every step of the way to develop your idea or invention including prototyping, securing your patent, manufacturing, and marketing. We can do any parts or all of it—it is YOUR idea so YOU are in control!

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