Updated November 18, 2020:

Can I Patent a Product That Already Exists?

You may ask, "Can I patent a product that already exists?" It's possible that existing products are protected in other ways besides "patenting," such as through a trademark or as a trade secret. A product's function or design that has features considered public domain isn't strong enough to obtain a patent. Adding a category-changing innovation to the design could get you a patent. For example, a ballpoint pen that heats itself when the ink gets cold. It is still a pen, but there is a novel redesign.

Why Patent a Product That Exists?

Patents on product improvements are done all the time, and it is up to the inventor to demonstrate that their idea is actually different, has not been "created," and is unique and unexpected. There are almost 50,000 patent results on Google Patents for "bottle openers." Obviously, after the first patent, there came several more. Subsequent patents just have to modify the idea in a "non-obvious" way.

Why Patent a Product When a Similar Patent Exists?

Distinguishing between merchandise and innovations is central to understanding patent regulation. A product could also be based mostly upon several innovations that are protected by patents. Simply because two products are comparable doesn't suggest that they cannot each be protected by a number of patents. For example, Apple and Microsoft can each create working methods that carry out comparable capabilities. Nonetheless, each product is protected by totally different patents that speak to the variations between the two innovations.

Step 1

Search for current patents that are assigned to the company that makes the product you imagine is just like the one you want to defend. Current patents are available in the database of the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, also referred to as the USPTO. Go to the USPTO website. Click on "Patents." A drop-down menu will appear. Choose "Search for Patents." When the search display appears, choose "Superior." Click on "Assignee." From right here, it is possible for you to seek out all of the patents related to comparable products.

Step 2

Decide which components of your product are different from those disclosed within current patents. Many products are protected by older patents. Distinguish which components of your product aren't disclosed within the patents held by the assignee of the comparable product. These components may be a patentable invention.

Step 3

Draft a patent application that discloses each facet of learning about how to make and use your invention. Utilize an online service or lawyer that focuses on patent prosecution to help you distinguish one invention from another.

Step 4

Draft the drawings for your patent application. The USPTO has intensive guidelines that govern patent drawings. Most drawings need to be completed in black ink, though the USPTO does permit pictures and color in some circumstances when color is important for understanding the drawing. Many patent attorneys depend upon services specializing in making patent drawings.

Step 5

Draft claims that establish novel and non-obvious facets of the invention. An invention is described by its claims. This language may be tough to grasp as it describes the invention in very succinct phrases. For example, a draft describing a lightweight bulb might be stated as, "Equipment for producing mild light consisting of a filament, a method for coupling the filament to an influence supply and a glass casement." A specialized service may be utilized to help draft your claims.

Step 6

Submit your application, drawings, and claims to the USPTO. Submissions to the USPTO can be done at their website. You'll be able to submit paperwork, PDF information, and different file varieties. The USPTO fees vary depending upon the type of claims, and whether or not you're a small or large enterprise.

To find help for submitting a patent, you can post your legal need on UpCounsel's marketplace. UpCounsel accepts only the top 5 percent of lawyers to its site. Lawyers on UpCounsel come from law schools such as Harvard Law and Yale Law and average 14 years of legal experience, including work with or on behalf of companies like Google, Menlo Ventures, and Airbnb.