Inventions all begin with an idea     ...but Ideas cannot be patented, only inventions can  

      Before beginning the patent process let's first take a look at the differences between a patent, a trademark, and a copyright. In addition, there are three different types of patents: a Design Patent, a Utility Patent, and a Plant Patent. Your invention may be eligible for more than one type. Not everything can be patented, and not anyone can apply for a patent, so what can be patented and who may apply? An important first step is to be certain that your invention has not already been patented, or your trademark has not already been registered. You will need to do a bit of searching.
      So it's new, it's novel, it can't be used to rule the world, and you invented it. You are now ready to take the next step. You will have to decide whether you are going to write the patent application yourself, or have a patent agent or patent attorney write the application for you. Filing a Trademark application is not difficult. Plant and Design patent applications are a bit more difficult, and preparing an application for a Utility patent is generally the most difficult of all. You should consider the potential value of the invention or trademark, and how powerful the application needs to be when deciding whether to write the application yourself or retain the services of a patent agent or patent attorney. You may have the greatest invention since sliced bread, but a patent application with weak claims and poor drawings, can destroy your chances for obtaining a powerful patent.
      In order to protect your invention in the United States, you will file a patent application with the United States Patent and Trademark Office (PTO application). If you would like your invention to be protected in other Countries, you will want to visit the World Intellectual Property Organization, and file a patent application with the Patent Cooperation Treaty (PCT application).
      Many patent applications (in any Country) require professional drawings of your invention or trademark, and must meet specific criteria.
Thomas Edison once said, "Genius is 1% inspiration and 99% perspiration." Protecting your invention and bringing it to market may not be the easiest thing you have done, but the rewards can be plentiful. I hope that this information has been helpful to you, and wish you the very best in your future endeavors.

Darryl Adair