Two great tools for inventors that won’t break your bank account: provisional patent applications and trademarks.
Successfully licensing an invention or getting a product to promote requires research and the opportunity to talk with people about your invention. It is impossible for a manufacturer or retail buyer to invest in something without seeing it.
Once and for all reason, many inventors are unwilling to share their invention with folks they don’t know. Further, once an invention is shared publicly, international patent rights could be lost, as well as the one-year timeline within which a United states patent application should be filed generally has started to tick. That is why, many inventors rush out and file a full-blown, ideas for inventions. That addresses the uncertainties plus enables inventors to alert folks that their invention is “patent pending.”
However, this method has several downsides. First, utility patents and also patent applications could cost many thousands. In the end, an inventor may find the expense outweighs the main benefit. Second, during the early stages, most invention designs are still evolving. Filing a patent too early could signify it doesn’t actually reflect the most evolved designs and drawings. Third–and many important, in my opinion–this investment has been made before an inventor has conducted real researching the market to validate marketability of your product.
Two solutions that a great many inventors–myself included–use will be to file provisional patent applications and trademark applications for your invention and product name or logo.
These applications provide the best of both worlds. At a tiny part of the expense of a utility patent application, a provisional patent application is just not actually a patent. It never will convert to some patent or become public, unless further action is taken. A provisional patent application is a similar to a place holder. Essentially, you are laying state they the filing date in the provisional patent application when and if you opt to apply for a full utility patent approximately one year from the moment you file your provisional patent application. So if you choose to file a provisional patent application on March 1, 2010, and you then choose to file a utility patent application eleven months at a later time February 1, 2011, the priority date for your utility patent application could be thought to be March 1, 2010, for all material substantively disclosed and enabled inside your provisional application.
In the date you file your provisional patent application, you have the legal right to write “patent pending” on your own prototype and show it to whomever you desire. At the same time, you will not lose your international patent rights and can still choose to file your utility patent application. But it really offers you one year to formulate your product and gain market information prior to actually must create the final choice on whether to file utility and international patent applications.
While technically you may write and file this application yourself, I recommend you do it with a bit of guidance and, at the least, an assessment from a how to pitch an idea to a company.
Every product carries a name, or it ought to. Once you begin utilizing the name with prospective licensees and customers, the invention actually becomes synonymous with the name. I have seen this happen again and again. And then there are just numerous names a product might take that satisfy the criteria for being both catchy capable to be registered.
So give all the believed to names for the product as possible, and can include questions on the name with your consumer research. As soon as you decide on your selected name, trademark the name. Then when you consult with prospective licensees, utilize the name. (Note: I did not say you need to let them know you will be hooked on the name). But if they become familiar with your product’s name, they will likely visit your trademark as another valuable asset you will be bringing to the table. Additionally it may further limit potential encroachment from likely competitors or knockoff products.
The underpinnings of trademark law are founded around the principle of first used, first in right. Filing of a trademark application typically constitutes use, but so does simply making use of the trademark. In fact, in some states you need to 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 might register. Therefore, make use of your trademark.
Once you’ve settled on and adopted your trademark you need to identify it as a a trademark through the use of either ™ or ® as appropriate. Look at the local state laws regarding the use of.
Generally in most states, trademark rights can be asserted regionally free of charge, simply by applying the T into a product (done 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 may be registered with all the United states Patent and Trademark office and overseas. It is a faster process, taking only 10 to 14 months. Once it really is registered as being a U.S. federally registered trademark, utilize the ® (also typed by inserting the “r” between parentheses).
We have always said that intellectual property, patents, trademarks and copyrights are only tools inside your inventing tool box. Making use of the right tool can be hugely valuable. The nicest thing about what to do with an invention idea is that it can purchase you time to understand which other tools can be necessary. Likewise, trademarks can be a valuable tool inventors overlook.