Get Your Idea or Product Patent Protected

Getting a new invention onto the market can take years, especially if it requires extensive development. The process begins with defining and documenting the invention. Next, it’s important to realistically research both the competition as well as suitable markets for the product. A patent attorney is a great source to guide an inventor through this process. There are some definite do’s and don’ts that should be adhered to in this process to best protect your interests. A patent can mean the difference between an idea benefiting its inventor and one that benefits a rival with savvier marketing skills and/or better industry connections.

A patent is the right conferred upon an individual or organization to solely make, use or sell an invention. Any natural person such as an employee of a corporation or individual inventor needs to protect their intellectual property from being infringed upon by competitors. From the date of filing, a patent lasts for approximately twenty years and falls within the jurisdiction of the federal government as explained in article.

As a general outline, there are three basic steps to obtaining exclusive rights to an idea or invention:

  • Planning
  • Research
  • Filing

Planning involves defining an invention and documenting its specifications as well as every step in its production. It also requires learning about the appropriate market for the product, the competition and developing a strategy for getting it to the industries or consumers who will use it.

Patent research may uncover that your “invention” is already in process and is already protected. Hiring an attorney who specializes in this type of research will ensure a thorough search to determine if a client’s invention is in fact unique. Expect the search to last as long as three months. While the search and application filing can theoretically be undertaken alone, an attorney provides valuable advice and expertise that is otherwise unavailable. Should a patent infringement case ever arise, it is best to have a bona fide litigator already retained. It is important that the inventor protect his self interest during the planning and research stages of the process.

Once the product has been publicly “disclosed,” the clock starts running. While the invention is not protected, anyone can further disclose this product, or produce it themselves and claim ownership.

The final step is the actual filing. It must be done within one year of the invention’s first disclosure and/or commercial application and can take up to six months. Provided non-disclosure agreements have been signed by anyone with knowledge of the invention, the onset of the one-year period can be delayed. A different patent attorney specializing in filing should be employed to this end to avoid any conflict of interest as described in post. It can take up to three years to receive the patent once filed.

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