A common question I get from inventors on a daily basis is, how do I protect my idea before I have a chance to file the patent?

Should I mail the idea to myself in a sealed stamped envelope?  The answer is no.

The best way to go about protecting your invention idea before you move into the patent process is to record your ideas in an inventor’s journal or notebook.

In the United States, unlike some other countries, the person who comes up with the idea first has the rights to an invention.  To prove you came up with the idea first, don’t mail the idea to yourself because it won’t hold up in court.  Better yet, write your idea in an inventor’s notebook, and get it signed and dated by a witness.  You can even have the entry notarized.  Put everything related to your idea into the notebook including drawings, people you talked to, marketing ideas, manufacturing costs, etc.  The great thing about this proven method of protection is it’s FREE!

But remember, having the idea documented in an inventor’s notebook is only the first step.  You can’t just sit on your idea.  You have to show you’re making some progress.

Otherwise if your idea is challenged and you’re idea is not going forward, it could be claimed as abandoned.  So make sure to make notations on your progress at least once a week.  Keep working on fine tuning your idea.  Finally, get a Provisional Patent Application filed as soon as you can.  The PPA is a very inexpensive way to get your protection filed with the USPTO.

For more information on the inventing process or to get started filing a Provisional Patent Application visit us at  New Product Consulting!