The day you finished your invention, you knew you had to protect it. You weren't familiar with trade laws or patents, but you knew it was important to do what you could to keep your idea safe.
The good news is that you're on the right track. Patent laws protect new inventions. They generally protect items that are tangible. However, certain items, like algorithms or genetically modified organisms, may also fall under patent law.
When can't you get a patent?
You can't get a patent if the invention you have is not new, not useful, obvious or a natural object. For example, if you were to try to patent a specific rock formation because of its protective design, that's unlikely to work because of the natural elements in the formation.
Sometimes, the courts struggle to determine what is or is not protected by patent law. Therefore, it's always a good idea to back your invention with strong evidence of the need for a patent.
What happens once you obtain a patent?
Once you have a patent, you can sell your invention for up to 20 years with exclusive rights. It's sometimes normal for inventors to license their inventions to companies that then sell the product for a fee.
A California attorney can help you assemble and complete the paperwork needed for a patent. It is sometimes complicated, but it is worth applying for a patent to protect your machine, chemical mixture, algorithm or other important invention, so you don't have to worry about another person or business stealing it from you.
Source: FindLaw, "What is Patent Law?," accessed May 21, 2018