Menlo Park Patents Blog:

How Do You Turn an Idea into A Patented Invention?

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During my career I have been repeatedly asked: how do I you turn an idea into an invention?

This question is the genesis of why we called our company Menlo Park Patents.  We selected the name because Menlo Park was the home laboratory of the greatest inventor of the 19th century, Thomas Edison.  While I (Joel Douglas) am no Thomas Edison, I am the named inventor on 103 U.S. patents, a University professor and licensed patent practitioner which gives me a unique perspective on the invention process.

So, how does a young inventor or small business turn their invention into a protectable patent? How will the patent add value to their company? Patents allow an individual or small business to receive and maintain a 20 year franchise on a product for a relatively small cost.  There is no other strategy or method that allows a business to have that type of protection.  Even if a pizza parlor dominated a local market, there is nothing to stop a competing pizza parlor from opening and offering the same product.  The USPTO allows an individual or business to receive a franchise for their invention for 20 years from the filing date of their patent application.  The cost of patent protection is relatively small in the grand scheme of things especially when compared to what other franchise cost.  Any inventive individual, entrepreneur, or founder should step back and figure out what is patentable in what they are building so they can protect it and secure the benefit of their invention for themselves. That being said there are a couple of steps that our team at Menlo Park Patents recommends to help you solidify your invention and begin the patent process:

  1. Document your invention. Create a detailed white paper explaining your invention and how it works.
  2. Create flow charts and drawings of your invention. The more detailed they are the better.
  3. Create a provisional patent application. A provisional patent application when filed at the USPTO gives you a priority date which is important because the U.S. is a first to file country and the earlier the priority date the better your chances are of being granted a patent for your invention.  Menlo Park Patents can help you write and file your provisional patent application.
  4. Refine your invention. Your provisional patent application gives you 12 months from the provisional patent application filing date to file your nonprovisional patent.
  5. File your nonprovisional patent application prior to the 12 month expiration date of your provisional patent application.
  6. Naturally, you need to prosecute the application at the USPTO as the examiner will review it against the USPTO rules and laws to ensure the application meets all of the criteria for patentability.

Menlo Park Patents is a fixed fee patent firm and has introduced the first patent application bundle that includes the initial drafting and filing of your utility patent application as well as the first office action in the fix fee format. This allows small businesses and individual inventors to plan their intellectual property expenses and help them manage their budgets by making them transparent.  Menlo Park Patents has also eliminated the cost of phone calls and emails by including them in our bundled prices.  We like to call our bundles – no surprise patent prosecution.

Menlo Park Patents fix fee and patent pending process provides the client with a transparent and well defined cost for pursuing their intellectual property. For more information visit us at for more information.