InventorsEye | Feb 2010

InventorsEye | Feb 2010
February 2010

The USPTO's bimonthly publication for the independent inventor community

An older man (Thomas Edison) listens on his own telephone invention at a desk, "doing his homework"

Do Your Homework

One of our most frequently asked questions is, “How do I get a patent, where do I start?” Our reply is always the same. “Do your homework."

Here are a few things to think about as you start this journey.

Is your invention useful?

Does it solve a problem?

Is it cost effective?

Does the public need it?

Is it better than the competition's?

Is it practical?

If your answer is “yes” to most of those questions, then you may have a product you want to move forward with. In that case, you should visit the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) website,, for information on how to protect your intellectual property. Our Web site should be your first resource for intellectual property protection information. The inventor resource page is designed specifically for inventors with useful information such as transcripts for our recent online chats and frequently asked questions (FAQs). You can find the answers to many of those burning questions you might have in the transcripts or the FAQs.

If you can’t get an answer to your question online, you can call the Inventors Assistance Program at 800-786-9199. The center is open Monday through Friday from 8:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. EST. The USPTO contact center can provide free literature on patent and trademark topics, send you forms, and answer basic questions. If you have a question they cannot answer, they will connect you with the Inventors Assistance Program (IAP). The IAP can answer general questions regarding patent examining policy, direct your call to appropriate USPTO personnel, assist you with filling out forms, and provide you with general information concerning rules, procedures and fees.

Class dismissed!!

By Cathie Kirik, Inventors Assistance Program

United States Patent and Trademark Office

in this issue
Patent Reform
An Open Letter
Protect Your Innovation: Avoid Scams
By Ronald Jaicks : Office of the Solicitor
Spark of Genius: The Spiral Eye Needle
By John Calvert : Inventors Assistance Program
Do Your Homework
Where Independent Inventors Meet
Organizations for Inventors


What does the USPTO do
for independent inventors?