How to Patent a Toy Idea

By Joe Runge, Esq.

How to Patent a Toy Idea

By Joe Runge, Esq.

In the toy business, patents are not child's play.

It's a competitive world, and the toy industry is no different. And if you have a great idea for a new toy, you'd be smart to protect it. You can patent a toy based only on a sketch or a concept, even without a functioning prototype.

Eligibility Requirements for a Toy Patent

The process of patenting a toy idea is similar to the patent process for any other kind of product. Any invention, regardless of what commercial application was envisioned by the inventor, must first meet a patent's eligibility standards.

The invention must be a new and useful:

  • Process
  • Machine
  • Manufacture
  • Composition of matter

The biggest issue for your toy is unlikely to be whether it's the kind of invention that is eligible for a patent. It's more likely to be an issue of whether someone else already owns the patent.

Is My Toy Idea Patent-Worthy?

Patents require absolute novelty. That means all the elements of your invention cannot be present in the existing published literature. You'll likely want to conduct a patent search through existing patents, papers, trade publications, and advertisements to make sure that no one has combined all the elements of your invention the way that you have.

One useful tactic is to write a one-page abstract that lays out all those elements. Consider the essential elements of your invention, then expand on them. When writing your abstract, aim for completeness. Describe the principles and elements of the invention and include lots of specific examples.

You'll need all those principles and terms for your patent search. Adjust your search strings until you have dozens of hits and see what's out there. And if you find your invention is truly unique, you can proceed to the patent process. Now, it's game on.

This portion of the site is for informational purposes only. The content is not legal advice. The statements and opinions are the expression of author, not LegalZoom, and have not been evaluated by LegalZoom for accuracy, completeness, or changes in the law.

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