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Currently, I have an idea to improve, re-design, or add a feature to an existing product. The product is a piece of wearable fitness garment.

This additional feature is very simply to implement. Yet, this feature currently does not exist.

I have no drawings, models, prototypes, or blueprints.

However, the idea is so simply it can easily be described in words.

At this stage, is it patentable?

3 Answers 3

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Although it would be highly recommended to have drawings in any application that gets filed, you do not need any model prototype etc. If you have a fully formed, workable design in your head it would be ready to patent. It does not need to be production-ready or optimized, or is it a problem for patentability that it is a modification of an exiting product.

Of course you may not be granted a patent, either because it has already been done or is deemed obvious over what is already known. That is judged based on anything ever published or patented anywhere at any time in any language.

If you get a patent it may be you that you can’t make or sell it without the permission of someone who holds patents on the item you are improving upon.

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In general, ideas are not patentable. Actual implementations may be. For instance you might have the idea that a flying car would be great, but you couldn't get a patent on that as it isn't "enabled". If you had an actual design of a flying car and no one else had published it before you, you could get a patent on aspects of the specific design.

I'm assuming your idea is actually an actual invention rather than just an idea. If so, you may potentially obtain a patent. Be advised that many things you can't find in stores are already patented. One big downside of trying to patent an invention that hasn't been implemented is that you don't necessarily understand the potential problems with it. Dealing with those problems can provide additional grounds for patentability as an argument against obviousness. Also, you need to try to think as broadly as possible about variations on the invention so that you can obtain the broadest possible claim coverage.

As always, I suggest working with an actual patent attorney or agent when pursuing a patent.

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  • I enjoyed your mention of the benefits of prototypes.
    – George White
    Jan 11 at 20:25
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Inventions are patentable whereas ideas are not. The difference between the two is sometimes subtle. The standard that the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) uses is whether a person having ordinary skill in the subject matter of the invention could read your application and recreate the invention based on what they have read.

A prototype helps with describing your invention in this amount of detail. However, it is not necessarily required.

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