If your invention is truly new and workable, it is most likely patentable. A common misconception, especially among engineers and scientists, is that to get a patent an invention must be revolutionary or at least substantial. Most likely, this is because they think of patents the same way they think of technical publications. More often then not, engineers and scientists will not think of applying for patents unless they are ready to publish their research work in a technical journal. While it is prudent to apply for patents for such in-depth works, in my experience the best patents are those directed at very simple inventions.
So, do not dismiss getting a patent for your invention just because you think it is too simple. However, what you need to consider is whether the invention is really new, i.e., novel and not obvious. To do that, you need to research “prior art” publications. In patent language, “prior art” means known or published before you apply for a patent.
The patent office allows inventors to represent themselves (pro se); however, this is highly inadvisable. The patent field is very technical and one may cause much irreparable damage by representing oneself. Retaining an attorney is essential to obtaining a valuable patent. Failing that, one may seek a patent agent instead and you can read how on https://www.jpost.com/Special-Content/Harness-Your-Creativity-and-Become-an-Inventor-with-InventHelp-574856.
It is strongly recommended that you retain a patent attorney to represent you before the Patent Office.
What is the distinction among a patent attorney and a patent agent?
Both patent attorneys and patent agents must have technical education and pass the Patent Bar (an examination administered by the patent office). In addition to that, patent attorneys must also graduate from a law school and pass the Bar of at least one state. So, in essence, agents are engineers who pass the patent bar, while attorneys are engineers having a law degree, and who pass the regular legal bar and the patent bar.
There are two different types of fees you need to consider: the patent office’s official fees, and the attorney’s service fees. The official fees are relatively low. For example, the filing fee for an individual inventor would be about $500. On the other hand, the service fees may be very high. The vast majority of lawyers charge an hourly fee; generally about $125-$400 an hour. Additionally, law firms charge overhead (such as phone, fax, copying etc.) to the client. The total fee can easily amount to $10,000, and on many cases exceeds this amount. Even more bothersome is that you will not know in advance how much the total lawyer’s fees would be until all the work is completed. There are much more useful tips about patenting at http://thestartupmag.com/inventhelp-inventions-ideas-make-world-better-place/ if you are interested.