A patent is the grant of a property right to the inventor, issued by the U.S. Patent & Trademark Office (USPTO). The right conferred by the patent grant is, in the language of the grant itself, “the right to exclude others from making, using, offering for sale, or selling” the invention in the United States. With some exceptions, this right expires 20 years after the application filing date, and is not renewable.
If you want to retain control over your ideas, either to use them or to prevent them from being used, then you must treat them as intellectual property. The world has a system in place for managing intellectual property rights, and although professional counsel is often indispensable, there are many parts of this system that are easily understood and of great value to the independent inventor.
To protect your intellectual property, you must clearly describe and document it, and submit this description, in the form of an application, to the U.S. Patent & Trademark Office (USPTO) for review as described in the https://www.collegian.psu.edu/xpert_advice/article_1c0ae35e-1916-11e9-a355-13e0947b8cdc.html too.
Depending on exactly what your idea is and how you intend to use it, there are different legal instruments available:
The Patent Pending Application (PPA) provides one year of internationally recognized “patent pending” status. It has a simplified filing procedure and a minimal filing fee. It is not examined and does not result in a patent; however, the filing date of the PPA may be applied to a follow-on utility patent application.
The PPA is a useful tool for the independent inventor, as it allows the inventor to publicly disclose his invention without fear of losing patent rights. Since inventors often partner with or license their ideas to manufacturers, filing a PPA can be an excellent way to determine the viability of an invention.
Much more comprehensive than the PPA, a patent is the grant of a property right to the inventor, issued by the USPTO. The patent confers the right to exclude others from “making, using, offering for sale, or selling” the invention in the United States for a period of 20 years.
Applying for a patent is not trivial, and the exact wording in the patent can determine whether the patent is valuable or worthless. Therefore, it is not recommended to file a utility patent without consulting with patent specialists such as InventHelp.