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Properly Document Your Invention

Hello, my name is Jake Ward. I’m a registered patent attorney and owner of Ward Law Office. We specialize in securing intellectual property rights for inventors, entrepreneurs and small businesses.

In this series, called Patently Good Ideas, we answer basic questions about patents, trademarks and copyrights.

Today’s question is:

I want to patent my inventions, what do I do first?

This is a very common question.

Early in the inventing process, and before you ever speak with a patent attorney, there are three basic steps to consider as an inventor to be well positioned for filing a patent application.

The first step is to properly document your invention.

What do I mean by properly document?

In sum, you should create a written description of your invention, how the invention is assembled and how it works. Sign and date it and keep a copy in a safe place.

No special format is required. Bullet point and hand drawings will suffice. However, you should be able to describe the invention with enough specificity such that someone with your field would be able to pick up the document, read it and say, “Yes, I know how to do what they’re saying.” without requiring any undue experimentation or guesswork on their part.

The United States is “first inventor to file” country under current patent law. So establishing a date of invention is not as important, legally, as it once was.

However, if you are serious about seeking a patent on your invention you will need to describe it to the patent office and probably a patent attorney.

Also, the act of writing about the invention makes you think critically about it and helps to crystallize it in your mind.

So as a first step you should reduce your invention to a writing.


If you have questions about trademarks, patents or copyrights feel free to reach out to the professionals and Ward Law Office. Also, check out our next video where we discuss the next step in the patent process after you have properly documented the invention.

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