Two great tools for inventors that won’t break your checking account: provisional patent applications and trademarks.
Successfully licensing an invention or getting a product to showcase requires research and the ability to talk to people concerning your invention. It really is impossible for the manufacturer or retail buyer to decide on a product or service without seeing it.
Permanently reason, many inventors are unwilling to share their invention with individuals they don’t know. Further, once an invention is shared publicly, international patent rights may be lost, as well as the one-year timeline within which a United states patent application should be filed generally has begun to tick. That is why, many inventors rush out and file a full-blown, getting a patent. That addresses the uncertainties plus enables inventors to alert folks that their invention is “patent pending.”
However, this approach has several downsides. First, utility patents and in many cases patent applications can cost many lots of money. Ultimately, an inventor may find that the expense outweighs the advantage. Second, in the early stages, most invention designs will still be evolving. Filing a patent too early could mean that it doesn’t actually reflect one of the most evolved designs and drawings. Third–and most important, in my view–this investment has become made before an inventor has conducted real market research to validate marketability from the product.
Two solutions that many inventors–myself included–use will be to file provisional patent applications and trademark applications to the invention and product name or logo.
These applications provide the very best of both worlds. At a tiny part of the cost of a utility patent application, a provisional patent application is not actually a patent. It never will convert to some patent or become public, unless further action is taken. A provisional patent application is really a similar to a place holder. Basically, you are laying state they the filing date in the provisional patent application if and when you choose to apply for a complete utility patent up to 12 months from the moment you file your provisional patent application. So if you decide to file a provisional patent application on March 1, 2010, and also you then choose to file a utility patent application eleven months afterwards February 1, 2011, the priority date to your utility patent application would be considered to be March 1, 2010, for all material substantively disclosed and enabled in your provisional application.
From your date you file your provisional patent application, you have the right to write “patent pending” in your prototype and show it to whomever you desire. Along the way, you simply will not lose your international patent rights and may still choose to file your utility patent application. But it really will give you 12 months to produce your product or service and gain market information prior to actually must have the final decision on whether to file utility and international patent applications.
While technically you can write and file this application yourself, I recommend that you do it with a bit of guidance and, at the least, an overview with a can you patent an idea.
Every product features a name, or it ought to. Once you start making use of the name with prospective licensees and customers, the invention actually becomes synonymous with the name. I have got seen this happen again and again. There are merely numerous names a specific thing could take that fulfill the criteria for being both catchy and able to be registered.
So give just as much thought to names for your personal product as you can, and include questions on the name in your market research. When you choose your chosen name, trademark the name. When you speak with prospective licensees, make use of the name. (Note: I did not say you ought to inform them you will be hooked on the name). However, if they become accustomed to your product’s name, they will watch your trademark as another valuable asset you might be bringing for the table. And it also may further limit potential encroachment from likely competitors or knockoff products.
The underpinnings of trademark law are founded about the principle of first in use, first in right. Filing of your trademark application typically constitutes use, but so does simply using the trademark. Actually, in some states you need to use the trademark publicly before filing a trademark application, and also in the federal trademark system, a trademark should be used in interstate commerce before it might register. Therefore, make use of trademark.
Once you’ve settled on and adopted your trademark you should identify it as a trademark through the use of either ™ or ® as appropriate. Examine your local state laws regarding the usage of.
In many states, trademark rights might be asserted regionally for free, by simply utilizing the T to your product (carried out by typing the letters “t” and “m” between two parentheses. The writing program automatically shrinks and raises it to achieve the T appearance.)
Second, a trademark may be registered with all the U.S. Patent and Trademark office and overseas. This can be a faster process, taking only 10 to 14 months. Once it can be registered like a United states federally registered trademark, utilize the ® (also typed by inserting the “r” between parentheses).
I have always mentioned that intellectual property, patents, trademarks and copyrights are merely tools within your inventing tool box. Using the right tool can be hugely valuable. The nicest thing about how to patent a product idea is it can get you time to find out which other tools might be necessary. Likewise, trademarks can be a valuable tool inventors overlook.