Protecting a Child's New Invention

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If my child has a new invention, how do I protect it before we sell it in stores?

Protecting a Child's New Invention

If your child invents a new toy or product, you'll likely need all the invention help you can get. If you've done any research on the topic, you know filing for a patent and following patent law is tricky business. There will be certain activities you need to focus on first. They include conducting a patent search, which means finding out if your child's novel idea has already been patented and looking closely at related patents if there are any. Then, you'll have to consider if you want to disclose the idea in a way that will be confidential but will still help you create evidence of when your child invented it. If someone else's child has also stumbled upon the idea, you need this evidence to prove your child had it first. Here are some key terms you are likely to come across when you seek invention help:

*Provisional and Non-provisional patent: A provisional application allows you to use the words, patent pending on your product but is not the same as patent protection. A non-provisional application, if accepted, will grant you a patent date that is the same as the date you filed.

*Trademark: A trademark is not the same as patent protection. It protects a marketing idea or brand name. You might end up applying for both.

*Prototype: If your child's idea needs some improvement, you'll have to prototype it. Websites like can help you with virtual prototyping on a computer.

*Patent Search Room and Patent and Trademark Depository Libraries: Both of these can help you search patents before you apply for yours. The search room is located in Va. while depository libraries are located through the country. They are both operated by the US Patent and Trademark Office; it's website is



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