The idea for an invention, or the concept behind it, is often called the invention’s “gist.” You can protect your idea for an invention by filing a provisional patent application. Once you file that application, you’ll have one year to file a nonprovisional application in order to receive full patent protection.
An invention is an original creation of the mind. It can be any new device, process or design that has never been made available before to the public. Inventors who come up with something truly novel often have no way of knowing whether their idea is unique or not until they file a patent application and seek out prior art references.
Once you’ve decided that your invention could be patented, you should prepare as much information as possible about it. This includes drawings or photographs showing how your invention works and what it looks like, as well as descriptions of what makes it unique and how it works compared with other similar devices.
You may also want to consider searching for prior art references in order to ensure that your idea doesn’t already exist somewhere else in the world — especially if you plan on marketing your product internationally and want to avoid inadvertently infringing someone else’s patent rights by selling your product in countries where others already sell similar products under their own patents.
Inventing an idea can be a difficult process, but it’s important to remember that you can’t patent an idea, only its physical embodiment. You may have a great idea for improving the design of a piece of technology or an invention that solves an existing problem in your industry — but if you can’t actually build it or provide evidence that someone else has already built and sold something similar, then there’s no way to patent it.