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Can you patent an idea? 

On Behalf of | Feb 2, 2022 | Intellectual Property & Trade Secrets

You have an excellent idea, and you want to start a business based around it. However, you’re nervous to even talk to anyone about it because you don’t want someone to steal your idea.

What you’re wondering is if you could patent that idea first. This would allow you to approach potential business partners or investors without having to worry about the idea being taken and used by someone else. Are you able to patent your idea?

Patent law does not apply to abstract ideas

When you look at patent law, what you’ll find is that you cannot patent everything. Some of the things that are not allowed include:

  • abstract ideas 
  • laws of nature 
  • physical phenomena 
  • mathematical algorithms

So you’re not able to patent your idea itself. You have to choose something that is a machine or a process, something that has been composed and can be created.

However, this may mean that you simply need to create an invention that is based on your idea. If that idea spurred you to create a physical device, then you can patent the device, and you have protected your idea. But you cannot simply protect the idea in the abstract sense. 

What may help you at this stage is to create a record of having the idea so that it’s clear that you came up with it at a certain time. You can then work on inventing the product that you want to make. In the rare chance that someone else attempts to do the same thing based on your idea, then you still have proof that it was originally yours. Make sure you know about all the legal steps that you need to take so that you can protect your business, your idea and your plans for the future.