Patent Referral Services: How to Patent an Idea | MAKO Design

Patent Referral Services: How to Patent an Idea

Helping You Protect
What Matters Most.

Every idea is a precious idea. Regardless of the stage your idea is at, it deserves the attention of the right people. Not just the right team of engineers and designers to help transform your idea into a fully manufactured product, but also the right patent attorneys to patent an idea and protect your design whether you have an existing patent or not.

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Patent Attorney

What Are Patent Referral Services?

Patenting an idea is the legal process of protecting intellectual property (IP) by giving the owner of the patent the exclusive right to make, use or sell an invention for a fixed period of time, thereby excluding others from doing the same. As such, not every invention is patentable.

As the pioneering product design services firm, MAKO is proud to have developed long-standing relationships with patent attorneys from coast to coast in the last 20 years. We have grown a network of patent attorneys who are ready to help you obtain the right type of patent for an idea and answer all of your patenting-related questions. Have the peace of mind of getting quality patenting services, affordably. And for clients who have an existing patent attorney, we’ll be more than happy to work with them too. Because protecting your intellectual property is our priority.

How MAKO’s Patent Help Services Work: Our Process

The majority of MAKO’s clients file a patent for their idea once they’re at least partway through our product development services. Specifically, after we provide prototype development services and a finalized 3D model of the invention, called a computer-aided design (CAD), that’s ready for MAKO’s product manufacturing services. Without a finalized design, inventors run the risk of patenting too early and spending more money and resources to obtain a second patent to document changes made throughout the product development process or even have their second patent nullified due to the first patent.

To help protect all inventors who come to us with an idea, whether or not they decide to work with us, all parties must sign a non-disclosure agreement (NDA), including MAKO Design + Invent, prior to any discussions about the inventor’s product. This ensures that we have confidential and secure discussions surrounding your invention idea and proprietary information.




First, a non-disclosure agreement (NDA) is signed by all parties to keep all invention information confidential. From there, every design project starts with strong communication and a deep understanding of the inventor’s idea to discuss business objectives, timeline, product requirements, monetization plans, the market, etc. From all of this, a Product Design Document is put together so we can keep accurate track of all design specifications throughout the course of this project. MAKO has developed proprietary systems for this to ensure that everyone is always on the same page and that all changes are tracked in real-time throughout the product design services process!

Refined Sketch



Based on the Product Design Document, we’ll begin to conceptualize the idea, first with sketches, building out a 3D virtual CAD using state-of-the-art, full manufacturing-grade top-of-the-line software such as Solidworks Premier or Fusion360. We then build iterations of the product called prototypes to identify real-world improvement opportunities to optimize the final design. Both the CAD design and prototyping phases are highly technical and complex processes as each CAD includes the critical engineering and design proprietary data that makes the invention unique. At MAKO, we ensure this data is well-organized and prioritize design for manufacturing (DFM) to make the patent application process much smoother and more efficient to help the inventor save valuable time and money.




Once the prototyping phase is complete and the inventor has a finalized design, this is the recommended time to explore how to get a patent on an idea. Because it’s at this stage where inventors are certain there are no further changes required to the final design as any changes after the fact may affect the enforceability of the inventor’s existing patent. For those who are ready to patent, MAKO can guide you to the right patent attorneys to help you avoid common patent application mistakes depending on the types of patents while meeting your timeline and budget requirements.

How MAKO’s Patent Referral Services
Can Build Your Business


Intellectual property protection is just one benefit of patenting physical consumer product inventions. As the inventor nears the end of the product development process, they may decide to pitch to retailers and wholesalers, license the product, or try to attract investors. For those whose inventions are patentable, having a patent may help the inventor set themselves apart from their competitors. Obtaining a patent adds credibility, minimizes risk, and proves that the inventor is deeply invested in the success of their idea.


Patent Referral Services Designed For Your Breakthrough Idea

MAKO Design has spent over 20 years developing a network of patent attorneys specifically for startups, small manufacturers, home inventors, & eCommerce brands. Through our intense focus specifically on small businesses, we ensure perfect alignment with your product vision and help you succeed in every way.


Every step, decision, and process is built on trust and transparency. MAKO’s patent referral services are as high-level or detailed as the inventor’s need. If all the inventor requires is a patent search to identify and compare similar designs, we can refer them to the right patent attorneys who specialize in just that. If the inventor needs a design or utility patent, we can draft well-designed patent drawings paired with detailed legal claims to protect the inventive novelties and simplify the application process for the patent attorney.


Established in 1999, we are the original product design services firm tailored to small product businesses. Our team is also comprised of global caliber talent from Fortune 500 companies including Dell, Nike, Bose, and Boeing. As such, they have experience communicating with and providing deliverables to patent attorneys to simplify patent search, applications, and other related patent referral services. Not only does this help the inventor get quality patenting services done more efficiently and affordably, but they can also focus on what’s really important to them – the invention itself.


When we say we tailor our services for startups, small manufacturers, and inventors, we mean it. We recognize and understand how daunting it may be to not have the same resources compared to massive product businesses that have been around for generations. We’re here to even the odds. Patent referral services like patent searches to pinpoint gaps in the market that are primed for the taking. Whiles successful provisional patent applications help prevent a new invention from being copied for a year.

What’s Next after Patenting is Done?

With a well-designed CAD ready for manufacturing and a patent to protect the idea, inventors are now ready to pursue three main options. The first is to continue manufacturing to start producing real units to sell directly to customers or to resellers. The second option is to negotiate a licensing deal so other brands may manufacture and sell the product. The third is to raise investment to help manufacture or scale the business. All three options are highlighted in further detail below:



The way most new inventions become successful products is to get to manufacturing and selling products. Once engineering is done, MAKO Design can complete the prototyping and manufacturing of your invention for you. We are a one-stop-shop from sketch to production then to sales. Half of our products are physical inventions, the other half are electronics products. Either way, we’re a full-stack in-house development firm. Below is a full list of all steps to get your product to production and then get your product out to market buyers!



Some inventors just want to get their product designed to a point where they can then license their invention idea to an existing product brand. Either way you go, completing world-class product design is a critical first step. If looking to license directly after design, MAKO would then set you up with a patent attorney so you can protect your IP before pitching your idea to licensors. Keep in mind that the further you develop your product, the higher the probability of licensing, so you may want to have MAKO engineer and/or prototype your design before you start pitching to get a licensing deal.



Raising money is a very normal part of getting a hardware product off the ground, and with MAKO’s help, anyone can do it! In fact, half of MAKO’s clients don’t start with enough funds to complete development and manufacturing. First and foremost, before raising any money, even from friends and family, it is essential that you complete at least the product design portion yourself. Even then, the further you push into engineering and especially prototyping, the better you look to investors, the more money you can raise, and the less equity you will have to give away.

How Patenting Fits into MAKO’s Overall Product Process



This includes industrial design services. This is the first and most important step in the product development process. This is the foundation of all product development to come, so is critically important to have it done right.



Mechanical engineering services and electrical engineering services (for those products with electronics) are the detailed work on the CAD to ensure that all components of the product design work cohesively, reliably, and predictably.



Before the product reaches the market, it’s important to test the form and functionality with a prototype. Prototypes are also a great way to generate traction for marketing, pre-sales, crowdfunding, and financing initiatives.



This is the current phase. We have preferred connections and pricing with a network of patent attorneys to help our clients with all things related to IP (Intellectual Property) protection. Our clients get quality patenting work, affordably through our network of US and Canadian patent attorneys.



Once the prototyping and engineering are complete, tested, and refined, the product is ready to move to production. This may happen after preselling through crowdfunding, or before selling if you choose to sell direct to buyers once you have inventory in stock.



MAKO Design has many connections to help our clients launch and sell products. There are three main options: Pre-selling through crowdfunding, bulk order sales directly to wholesalers, distributors, retailers, and/or direct to the end-customer.

Patent Referral Services: Frequently Asked Questions

Here are a few of the most frequently asked questions about how to patent an idea. Don’t see an answer to your question here? Feel free to contact us anytime with your inquiries, read our blog for hundreds of articles related to patenting an idea and other product design services, learn about the entire end-to-end process with MAKO’s free invention kit, or check out the industry’s largest podcast: The Product Startup Podcast.

Can you patent an idea?

No, you can patent an invention but not an abstract idea. The idea should at least be conceptualized before filing for a patent.

Who can help me patent my idea?

Patent attorneys or agents are equipped to assist you with your patenting needs. MAKO provides patent referral services to help you find the right patent attorney or agent for your invention. MAKO itself is not a patent agent or patent attorney.

How do I find a patent agent?

In the United States, the Office of Enrollment and Discipline (OED) maintains a register of active patent practitioners which can be accessed via the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) website. In Canada, you can search for registered patent agents from the Canadian Intellectual Property Office (CIPO). Alternatively, MAKO provides patent referral services to recommend patent attorneys or agents suitable for your invention needs.

How much do patent agents charge per hour?

Costs may vary depending on the complexity of the invention and the type of patent service required. To learn more about patent services fees, please contact us directly.

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