Q&As

How do I protect a new idea for a product?

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Published on LexisPSL on 04/12/2013

The following IP Q&A provides comprehensive and up to date legal information covering:

  • How do I protect a new idea for a product?
  • Keep it a secret
  • Seek advice from an IP lawyer or a patent attorney
  • Applying for a patent
  • Look after the patent once you have it
  • Consider commercial usage
  • Find out what are other people doing
  • Enforce

Keep it a secret

If you have a new idea about how to do or make something, resist the temptation to tell people about it or publicise this, as patent law dictates that doing so will usually destroy the ability to patent that idea.

Seek advice from an IP lawyer or a patent attorney

An IP lawyer or a patent attorney will be able to tell you whether the idea is protectable under a patent or not. Patent law is complicated such that not every type of idea is automatically allowed to be protected by a patent. For example, they will be able to give you an idea of whether someone else has already obtained a patent for this invention. An example of a difficult area is patents for inventions that are all about software.

It is advisable to consider alternatives as well. If the idea is not protectable with a patent, it may be protected in other ways, such as keeping it as a trade secret or confidential know-how, or using the system of industrial design protection.

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