Invention isn’t just coming up with a problem to be solved, but also working out a solution. You probably wouldn’t have come this far into the VentorBridge web site if you didn’t already have an idea in mind. But, maybe you’re missing some key pieces of know-how to help make it real.
Conception means filling in those missing pieces, at least on paper: a hopeful best guess at how the invention might be brought into the real world, ready for manufacture, distribution or licensing. Often the missing piece will be found in some seemingly unrelated field of study. By harnessing a wealth of experience in many areas of science and engineering, VentorBridge may be able to help find that missing piece and show how it fits with all the rest.
Conception normally includes a search of existing patents (the “prior art”) to see if anything close to the conceived version has already been patented. The United States Patent Office provides on-line resources for this purpose, all already paid for by your tax dollar. VentorBridge normally performs its own patent search. Your attorney, though, can likely turn up patents we overlook. We recommend having both do the search, so what one misses, hopefully the other will find.
If prior art does turn up which is too close, conception can often go another round: tweaking the invention to be more evidently different from – and hopefully better than! – the prior art. Old, expired patents may give inspiration for new and still patentable ideas. If identified prior art patents are still in force, often the invention can be changed to steer clear of their claims and once again, still be patentable.