How to Get a Patent on Anything

Want to patent something? Add this one feature and you can get a patent on almost any idea you can think of - even ideas that are well known and products that already exist. (Satire... but you could actually do this).

by Mike Marks
Invention City Founder and President

NOTE: The following post makes a serious point but is not intended as serious advice. It's intended to further understanding of patents and to help inventors spend their money wisely. Not all patents are created equal.

Are you stressed about getting a patent? There's no need to worry. The easy method I'll disclose to you is pretty much guaranteed to work on everything from smartphones to submarines, from mousetraps to the wheel and also applies to video games and apps. Using this method you could even get a patent on a product that's already patented!

Variations on this idea are used by successful inventors and patent attorneys all of the time. The United States Patent Office implicitly endorses it. It is 99.9% guaranteed to work most of the time (read caveats and disclaimer below).

But there's something you should know. The patent you'll get using this idea will likely be worth $0.00. Nothing.

A patent is only worth something if it adds value to your invention. If your patent protects a competitive advantage, something that causes buyers to choose your invention over an alternative, something that enables higher profit, then it has value. This idea adds cost and complexity with no real benefit. In almost all cases this idea will make an invention worse. But that doesn't stop you from getting a patent with it.

In business it can sometimes be helpful to claim "patented" or "patent pending," even if the underlying patent has no value, but not often. Your business partners are unlikely to be impressed once they learn about the patented feature I'll disclose to you. Quite the opposite. Once they learn that you have a patent based on this feature, they'll probably laugh (or cry if they invested money with you).

What is the feature? It's a button. Put a button on anything, put it on in a new place, make it a different shape, have it make a weird sound and you should be able to find a way to get a patent. The button could be the kind found on a shirt or pair of pants or it could be the kind of thing you push or touch on an electronic device. It could even be a virtual button located somewhere within a video game. It could make a noise or light a light or just provide a place to hang a cleaning rag (with matching slot). You could add a shirt button to the edge of a classic mouse trap and with enough specific details (where the button is located, how it is attached, how much it weighs, the thickness of the material on its perimeter versus its center... ) most likely get a patent on it. You could then say, truthfully, that you have a patent on a mousetrap.

I know this all sounds ridiculous. But many patents are granted on ideas that sound serious but are just as worthless. The point here is that getting a patent should not be a goal unless the patent is worth having. Learn more about meaningful patents here.

We developed our Brutally Honest Review to give inventors honest feedback that considers whether or not they really have a better mousetrap or simply one with a button on it.

Better Mousetrap?
Do you really have a better mousetrap?

Get honest feedback on your invention here.


* Disclaimer and caveats - The ideas presented in this blog post are partly satire. To the extent that this blog post is taken seriously, it is written from a business perspective and intended to illustrate the complexities and vagaries of the patent system. This is not legal advice. I am not a lawyer. Before following any specific course of action with regard to patents you should consult with a professional patent agent or attorney.

- Mike Marks

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