POMPANO BEACH, FL—Moments after successfully sending her first text message from her new smartphone Tuesday, 75-year-old Eleanor Brodeson is said to have felt immense relief at the knowledge she had surmounted the final technological advancement of her lifetime.
In the United States, anyone who believes they have invented something truly unique is welcome to fill out a patent application to protect it, but it’s often a complicated and laborious process. Here are the steps involved in securing a patent:
- Step 1: First, come up with something really cool, like a cheese grater that works in both directions. Oh shit, don’t steal that one! That’s mine!
- Step 2: Research the marketplace to find out if your idea is original or if some asshole has already stolen it from you
- Step 3: Call dibs
- Step 4: Assess the financial potential of your invention by determining if it can be concisely summed up in a commercial jingle
- Step 5: Before submitting your application, carefully review patent legal documents, occasionally stopping to nod your head as if you understand what they mean
- Step 6: Patent and Trademark Office employees all have a good laugh
- Step 7: Wait one to two decades
- Step 8: Order several thousand pens with your invention’s name on them
- Step 9: Come to terms with the fact that your financial future depends on your ability to market your product to people who buy whatever Peyton Manning and anthropomorphic wads of mucus tell them to
- Step 10: Congratulations! You’re now legally allowed to funnel your life savings into getting your life’s work onto Dollar Tree shelves.
- Step 11: Spend remainder of bitter, unnaturally truncated life filing lawsuits to protect patent