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By J.D. Houvener
Patent Attorney and Founder

Hi everyone, I’m J.D. Houvener, the Managing Partner here at Bold Patents law firm, and I’m here to help you answer the key question that we get from all inventors and probably those of you out there thinking about this: What is the process? How do I get my idea patented? Well, I’m here to tell you, just to introduce this, keep it pretty high level that you got to be careful with what you say. I hear it a lot, “I’ve got an idea for this,” or “I just got this amazing idea. You’ve got to hear it, JD,” and I usually kind of cringe a little bit because I hear “idea,” and I think, gosh, you know, maybe they haven’t thought it through as much as they should have.

The key to understanding the patent process starts with step one, which is understanding the difference between an idea and an invention, alright? Ideas are not patentable; inventions are. So, what’s the difference? Well, ideas are just that. They are things that people think about every day, probably all the time. And it could be fleeting thoughts, ideas, or conceptions that they start seeing, perhaps a solution, maybe after they’ve kind of gone through the personal experience of some problems around the house or trying to solve a problem at work or that they’re working on in a business that they’re in, and they’ve got some solution. But they really haven’t done much more than conceptualize it. Okay, now, that is close, but that really is just the beginning of what will be an invention.

An invention is what’s patentable. It’s an idea that’s been fully expressed, and you’ve been able to describe it such that you could make it and bring it about in the physical world. So, it’s a big difference, right? I mean, going from sort of this pie-in-the-sky light bulb moment to actually being able to articulate through words and, most importantly, through a written description and drawings so that someone like you out there in the world could take that drawing, could take the written description that you have and go make your invention and bring it to life. That’s the big difference between an idea and an invention.

I always try to get inventors to do, and I sit down with them initially, is kind of pull the invention out. Usually, it’s kind of a quick one-liner, “Hey, here’s my invention, here’s what it is,” and we need to just take a minute. I need you to really make sure that you’ve thought this through. What kinds of materials? How would this fit into other apparatus or how would this fit into the human hands? How would you actually communicate with this device, with the computer, with a network? You can’t just assume certain things are in place. Unfortunately, that mutually means that you haven’t yet worked it all the way out, and you aren’t yet at the invention stage.

Now, just because you’re at the idea stage doesn’t mean you should stay within your own realm. Please reach out to us. We love working with inventors and helping them with this process of moving from an idea to an invention. And it takes a bold inventor like you to make that call. Go to our website at or give us a phone call at 818-1913. We’re one step away, one communication away from getting you started on this process. We are really big proponents of education. We have a book that we give away. I wrote it just a couple of years ago called “Bold Ideas: The Inventor’s Guide to Patents.” So, this is the first step of the process, understanding where you are with your idea and bringing it to what will become an invention.

I’m your host, J.D. Houvener, of the Bold Today Show. Go big, go bold.

About the Author
J.D. Houvener is a Registered USPTO Patent Attorney who has a strong interest in helping entrepreneurs and businesses thrive. J.D. leverages his technical background in engineering and experience in the aerospace industry to provide businesses with a unique perspective on their patent needs. He works with clients who are serious about investing in their intellectual assets and provides counsel on how to capitalize their patents in the market. If you have any questions regarding this article or patents in general, consider contacting J.D. at