If you have an idea which you think is patentable, you may decide you want to move forward and try to obtain patent protection. Before you can proceed with protecting your invention, however, it's important that you understand what is known as "prior art."
If you have a new idea or invention, it can be important to get an application filed as soon as possible, since others may independently come up with the same idea, and file for patent protection first.
When applicants are trying to patent their invention they often get the feeling that their patent examiner is an adversary. While it can seem like a patent examiner is pitted against you, he or she functions primarily as a gatekeeper. A patent examiner simply has a job to do.
For innovators and inventors, it begins with the realization that there is a better way. In some cases, it begins with the stubborn proclamation, "I'm going to find a better way." No matter how it starts, the better way can lead to something new--something that deserves the protection of a patent.