Grants for patents are funds issued to people who need money to fully develop their creations and apply for a grant. Because a lot of startup investors don't have adequate funds to cover grant applications as well as develop ideas to their fullest extent, grant money makes it possible for them to invest in their business and get a patent more quickly than they might be able to do otherwise.

How to Get a Patent Grant

Government organizations and private entities are two places to look for grants, with the federal government being the best grant source. Private organizations tend to provide funds when they feel an invention could positively benefit society. As you begin researching potential grant sources, check both private and public ones.

Federal Funding

The U.S. government supports research and development efforts when it feels an inventor contributes to initiatives that align with its own objectives. Funds are available in amounts as high as several million dollars; inventors don't have to repay grants. Visit Grants.gov to efficiently navigate the various granting offices of federal departments. Take your time looking through the different departments and the grant opportunities they offer. This website provides a wealth of information about government grants. 

Another option is the Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) website, which works with federal agencies to offer funding for inventions that have commercial potential. SBIR offers funding for the following: 

  • Development 
  • Startup 
  • Commercialization

Check the sites of individual government agencies, as each may offer specific types of grants related to certain industries. For example, if you have a ranch-related invention, check out the Department of Agriculture site.

Submit a financial request to the SBIR if you're an inventor with a small, for-profit business that meets the following criteria: 

  • It's 51 or more percent owned by a U.S. citizen or permanent resident.
  • It has 500 or fewer employees.

The SBIR covers a dozen government agencies, and maximum grant values range from $150,000 for initial phases to $1,000,000 for subsequent phases.

Working With Non-profits

Consider non-profits for grant opportunities for an invention with the potential to benefit society. Social enterprises have social and for-profit components. Non-profits enjoy tax exemption, so you can search for grants taking advantage of that status.

Join an inventors club in your area, and network with inventors to discover more grant opportunities. Visit the United Inventors Association site to find inventors clubs in various regions.

If you're a college student or faculty member at a college, you can apply for a grant from the National Collegiate Inventors and Innovators Alliance, which awards grants for inventions that meet the following criteria: 

  • It has commercial potential.
  • It has a positive impact on society.
  • It's an innovative technology.

Non-profits may offer grants to promote inventions in areas they're actively involved in.

Other Grant Sources

If the grantor you're interested in allows it, draw up professional plans to submit along with your grant application. If you're able to get an interview with a potential grantor, you can show them how serious and deserving you are when you have professional visuals to show committee members. It could make the difference in whether you obtain the grant or not.

Look into "angel" investors, who sponsor innovations with small donations that may range from $20,000 to $100,000. These types of investors expect a financial return, which is usually a small percentage of ownership in a new company. They're unlikely to be involved in the daily running of a business, but they may introduce you to important members of their network. To find angel investors in your area, contact the alumni association at your alma mater or the Chamber of Commerce.

Venture capital companies may offer millions of grant dollars since they tend to sponsor at a very high level. In exchange, they'll expect a significant percentage of ownership in a startup. These firms are often involved in a startup's strategic direction, and they're frequently represented on the board of directors.

Because the grant application process can be time-consuming and costly, grant money is important for many inventors who have limited funds. With financial backing that doesn't have to be repaid, inventors can completely focus their efforts on their creations.

If you need help with patent grants, 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, Stripe, and Twilio.