August 17, 2009

How do I patent my invention?

Posted: 08:47 AM ET



How can I get a patent and some financial backing for a product? I have done the searching and I know there is not another such design out on the market. I am currently unemployed and would like to get this off the ground as soon as possible. Please help!


Because you have the time, you should go to get a book called 'Patent It Yourself' from a website called With 'Patent It Yourself,' you will learn how to actually process your own patent.

Money is short and time is long for you right now, so go ahead and do all the legwork yourself to make that patent happen.

Now here's the hard part: if you want to actually build this product and you need investors, usually what you do is contact companies who do that general business area and might be interested in the product that you have successfully patented.

Call and ask them who they funnel possible inventions or possible product ideas through. They might refer to them as their patent broker.

Contact that individual, have them sign a non-disclosure form and give them the information on your patented idea, and see if they might become your partner at the company they would pitch it to.

Tune in to Clark Howard Saturdays and Sundays at noon and 4 p.m. ET on HLN

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AC   August 17th, 2009 11:00 am ET

Be sure to mail yourself the plans, designs, specs, etc. and do not open unless you see your invention has been stolen. The unopened envelope will still have the original postmark and will be opened in court to support your claim. Good luck.

a   August 17th, 2009 3:04 pm ET

What a waste. It's like if I told you how to boil water. There was nothing useful in that story. You should have said that it will take 3-5 years to get a patent AFTER you apply. You should have said you have no protection during that time. Anyone can copy it. You should have refered them to where for $3000 they will make a professional patent (I used them). There is a lot going into a patent and not everthing is patenatble. Did you mention the Bilski case? Nope. A ruling came down that algorithems are not patenatble. That means computer software and such. Well, thanks for a waste of my time.

Sookdeo Raghubar   August 24th, 2009 6:50 pm ET

Sandy i am willing to put up no less than $200000.00 if your invention can make us both money. If intrested i will contact Clark and we can get together

Richard Main   August 24th, 2009 7:48 pm ET

AC, mailing yourself at letter you don't open is ridiculous advice. The only protection to be had in not actually filing a patent application would be to publish your invention so everyone else in the world would be barred from obtaining a patent on the same invention. Richard, a patent attorney of 20 years.

Christian   August 25th, 2009 2:58 pm ET

I work full time and I have 2 Inventions that i want to patent, but have no idea how to get started in this process. I have called the "Invent Help" phone number that you see on TV, but they have yet to call me back, and im pretty sure that they just work like a middle man anyway. I would like to do it all myself so i'm curious to see if this comment might stir up some help for me. If there's anyway that someone can lead me to the right direction, ie website i can visit or something along those lines, i'd greatly appreciate it.

Chadwick   September 4th, 2009 11:04 pm ET

What is the BEST website or company to go to, to get a patent for your invention ASAP! (That is NOT a rip-off!)

Duane   September 12th, 2009 7:13 pm ET

I just recently called inventhelp and they told me they were very interested in my idea as they have never heard of a tool like this before. They set me up a meeting at the end of the month to come in and get started, I came home from work and googled inventhelp, and so far everything that I have read has told me it's a huge scam, they take your money and run. I really want some help in doing this idea-I work as a commercial plumber, and everyone I have told about it has told me its an amazing idea. Can anyone please help me get started?

William   September 17th, 2009 7:21 am ET

I have a inventions and belive its a one of a kind. How do i find a company that I can trust. One company has said they want $ 900 to search and make sure there is no invention like mine. I just don't want to get rip off.

Ernie   October 6th, 2009 1:42 pm ET

Sounds like a couple of us are in the same boat, trying to find a place to start with out much capital at our disposal. Be cautious many inventor help agency are rip-offs! I found a round-a-bout friend who had an idea patented and is working on getting the product sold. Once I get in touch with him I'll pass the info on. If anyone else comes up with some good info please pass it on.

Mark A. Gallo   November 6th, 2009 7:27 am ET

Hello,I just don't know who to trust or where to turn. I have an invention that would really be usefull to all and is worth millions. Please help me to get this going.

Sterling AM   November 9th, 2009 2:42 pm ET

I have come up with three(3) inventions over the past 2 years, 1-for brick massonary work a device that will revealutionize the way brick masson workers lay bricks,concrete blocks etc. 2- A garden device specifically use for any area of the lawn & the 3rd-Work tool device is a tool for Carpenter's, Cabinet maker, Home Builder dream Tool. The problem is that for all the comments I've read above, I really don't know whom too trust. I'm currently unemployed. With these ideas I know that they're multi-million dollar ideas. I don't say that for any hype. I've gotton several feed backs from mostly strangers. So, like SANDY, I'm looking for someone I can trust & acquire some financial backing. Someone I can pitch these ideas too. Is there anyone, willing to meet with me. Contact #904-233-2998

Sterling AM   November 10th, 2009 9:17 am ET

I'm currently seeking a company that can be honest about patenting my ideas without ripping me off. I've read a lot of emails pertaining to these companies that have a very LOW percentage of actually bringing the ideas of inventor's to the market. Is there anyone out there that has a solid company that will actually help individuals,such as myself?

Karen   December 13th, 2009 11:28 pm ET

I came up with a great invention several years ago. After spending $6000.00 with a marketing firm, it went nowhere. It was going to cost an additional $2000.00 for a patent. Now five years after my invention, I saw a manufacturer advertising something very similar to my idea. Because I sent hundreds of pamphlets to manufacturers, is it possible they may have stolen my idea because I didnt have it patented? If so, is there any action I can take against this company? I have another invention but I am soooooo skeptical of what to do with it because of my horrible past experience!

Tonya Cotton   January 30th, 2010 2:25 pm ET

To clark howard If theres investers out there for people who have invention ideas or manufactureds, I'll like to here from them

Judi Holland   February 11th, 2010 12:36 pm ET

I have a great dog toy invention that I have been donating to shelter and the humane societies to see how they go and it's fabulous. I hear that you can't donate if your going to patent. Also I don't know where to start and your blogs are turning my head around. Please help. I believe people adore their dogs and it would take off. My dogs are the testers.

Yerani   March 23rd, 2010 4:09 pm ET

I have two inventions one for the game of soccer and one for the medical world but don't know where to start. Also looking for a partner that's willing to take the chance with me.

Paul   March 24th, 2010 8:25 pm ET

Great jobs guys!

I am a inventor and I have been collecting inventions for at least 17 years now. I don't have a tatent or sell any of my idea as yet but this year I will have at least two ideas patent and publish. I too is trying to find the right company to work with.

The pre-paid credit card was my idea
The auto checkout system at suppermarket was my idea also
The refletting light on car headlight is my idea as well.

The sad thing is, I never take the time to research and patent any of the three ideas I have lost to other inventors. today, I have at least 10 more ideas that I am working with and at the end of the year I will have at least two patent

Ricardo -morales   March 25th, 2010 4:18 pm ET

Hi, I NEED MONEY ¡¡¡¡¡¡¡¡¡ I have an invention that is sure to be a success in the field of security, I have ran market tests and it shows results that place profits in the neighborhood of the several millions a year in a very small country of central america let alone if we launch it in the US, however I don´t have the working capital and I hear all these things about the patents, the truth is I found most informations at but still I am a little confused, the blog´s article by the way is useless, looks like he´s tryign to sell books for that site, but there are real good sources out there

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Clark Howard helps you become a wise consumer. We know you're busy, and that's why Clark's tips are quick and effective. He'll arm you with the information you need to make smart choices. During these tough economic times, Clark wants to help you save more, spend less and avoid getting ripped off!