Two great tools for inventors that won’t break your checking account: provisional patent applications and trademarks.
Successfully licensing an invention or going for a product to promote requires research and the ability to speak with people about your invention. It can be impossible for a manufacturer or retail buyer to agree to a product without seeing it.
For good reason, many inventors are unwilling to share their invention with people they don’t know. Further, once an invention is shared publicly, international patent rights could be lost, along with the one-year timeline within which a Usa patent application should be filed generally has started to tick. For that reason, many inventors rush out and file a full-blown, how to patent. That addresses the uncertainties and also enables inventors to alert people that their invention is “patent pending.”
However, this approach has several downsides. First, utility patents and also patent applications could cost many thousands. In the end, an inventor may find how the expense outweighs the main benefit. Second, in early stages, most invention designs will still be evolving. Filing a patent too early could signify it doesn’t actually reflect by far the most evolved designs and drawings. Third–and most important, i think–this investment continues to be made before an inventor has conducted real consumer research to validate marketability of the product.
Two solutions that lots of inventors–myself included–use are to file provisional patent applications and trademark applications for the invention and product name or logo.
These applications provide the very best of both worlds. At a tiny part of the price of a utility patent application, a provisional patent application is not really actually a patent. It never will convert to some patent or become public, unless further action is taken. A provisional patent application can be a just like a place holder. Basically, you are laying claim to the filing date of your provisional patent application when and if you opt to apply for a whole utility patent approximately twelve months from the time you file your provisional patent application. So if you decide to file a provisional patent application on March 1, 2010, and also you then elect to file a utility patent application eleven months afterwards February 1, 2011, the priority date for your personal utility patent application could be regarded as March 1, 2010, for all material substantively disclosed and enabled within your provisional application.
From your date you file your provisional patent application, you will have the legal right to publish “patent pending” on your own prototype and show it to whomever you wish. At the same time, you will not lose your international patent rights and will still choose to file your utility patent application. However it provides you with one year to formulate your product and gain market information prior to actually must make the ultimate decision on if you should file utility and international patent applications.
While technically you can write and file this application yourself, I would suggest that you just do it with many guidance and, at the very least, an overview by way of a patent an idea.
Every product features a name, or it should. Once you start making use of the name with prospective licensees and customers, the invention actually becomes synonymous with the name. We have seen this happen time and time again. Where there are merely numerous names a product or service might take that match the criteria being both catchy and able to be registered.
So give as much shown to names for your product as possible, and may include questions regarding the name with your market research. Once you settle on your preferred name, trademark the name. Then when you speak to prospective licensees, utilize the name. (Note: I did not say you need to inform them you are hooked on the name). But when they become used to your product’s name, they are going to view your trademark as another valuable asset you happen to be bringing to the table. And yes it may further limit potential encroachment from likely competitors or knockoff products.
The underpinnings of trademark law are founded around the principle of first utilized, first in right. Filing of any trademark application typically constitutes use, but so does simply utilizing the trademark. Actually, in many states you must make use of the trademark publicly before filing a trademark application, and in the government trademark system, a trademark should be used in interstate commerce before it can register. Therefore, utilize your trademark.
Once you’ve settled on and adopted your trademark you should identify it as a trademark by using either ™ or ® as appropriate. Look at your local state laws regarding the application of.
In the majority of states, trademark rights may be asserted regionally for free, by just utilizing the T to a product (performed by typing the letters “t” and “m” between two parentheses. The writing program automatically shrinks and raises it to get the T appearance.)
Second, a trademark could be registered together with the U.S. Patent and Trademark office and overseas. It is a faster process, taking only 10 to 14 months. Once it is actually registered being a United states federally registered trademark, make use of the ® (also typed by inserting the “r” between parentheses).
I actually have always claimed that intellectual property, patents, trademarks and copyrights are simply tools with your inventing tool box. Using the right tool can be very valuable. The nicest thing about patent a product is it can buy you time to find out which other tools could be necessary. Likewise, trademarks are a valuable tool inventors overlook.