The invention however should not be a scientific, mathematical discovery, theory or method, a literary, dramatic, musical or artistic work, or a way of performing mental act, playing a game or computer programs or doing business, an animal or plant variety, medical treatment / diagnosis as also things against public policy or morality.
If the above points meet your new invention you can consider applying for a patent from the government. The patent has to be renewed every year from the 5th year up to 20 years of protection. (What is a Property, 2007).
"Some other types of intellectual property rights are referred to as patents in some jurisdictions: industrial design rights are called design patents in some jurisdictions (they protect the visual design of objects that are not purely utilitarian), plant breeders’ rights are sometimes called plant patents, and utility models or Gebrauchsmuster are sometimes called petty patents or innovation patents. This article relates primarily to the patent for an invention, although so-called petty patents and utility models may also be granted for inventions." (Patent, 2008).
"The Commissioner of Patents &. Trademarks has authority from Congress to establish rules and regulations for conduct of proceedings relating to granting and issuing of patents, known as "Patent Office Prosecution". These rules and regulations are set forth in Title 37′ of the code of Federal Regulations." (Hildreth, 1998).
The most important thing to consider before applying for a patent is how and when it should be protected, and application should be done before issuing any details or information to public regarding the invention. If this is not taken care of, the scope for protection of the innovation either under patent law or as a trade secret under the law relating to confidential information gets limited.
"Whilst international conventions are important in protecting patent rights, such conventions deal primarily with procedural issues, while substantive patent law remains governed by national laws."
"In contrast to copyright or the law of confidential information, patent protection does not arise automatically and the filing of an application for a patent, followed by its grant, is necessary in order to obtain protection." (Patents / Designs Law Articles).
While applying for a Patent following points should be taken into account:
1) A patent must be filed by actual sole inventor or joint inventor of an invention.
2) If the inventor expires, his legal representative can apply for patent on his behalf.
3) If inventor is insane or legally incapacitated, his legal representative like guardian etc. can apply for patent on his behalf.
4) If there are joint inventors, and one of them does not want to apply, refuses for patent, or cannot be located, the other person can further proceed application of patent on first inventor’s behalf. However, the first inventor must have agreed in writing to assign the invention to the other party or the party has proprietary interest in the invention.
5) The applicant of Patent should take care to note the date with appropriate