Inventors can file a patent with the government to protect their rights to a specific invention. This is a government-granted authority, or license, granting the patent holder exclusive rights to the patent.
Patents protect the inventor’s invention from third-parties, and allow the patent holder to make money off of the patent through licensing if they see fit.
A United States utility patent is granted for a period of 20 years, while a design patent lasts for a period of 14 years.
Inventions vary from technological to mechanical, energy, chemical, and medical fields, among others. However, not all ideas are eligible for a patent. When attempting to secure a patent, it is important to seek advice or consult with a lawyer who specializes in patent law.
Before taking the step to acquire a patent, you must conduct some basic research on the viability of their invention. For instance, it is important to determine whether the invention or idea is already in use or is infringing on another patent or person’s rights.
For an invention to be eligible for patent, it has to be unique in its origin and functionality.
Commercial viability is an important part of any invention. Inventors hoping to benefit financially from their patent should evaluate the patent’s target market. Will there be demand for your product? Is there a need for your product? Will your product be financially viable?
Even if you never plan to sell your product, you can still maintain a patent and collect revenue from licensing in the future.
Prior to applying for a patent, an inventor should have a working prototype that will demonstrate the functionality of the product. A prototype consists of the fundamental aspects of the final product. Once a product is patented, it may be difficult to amend its mechanics or structure.
Benefits of A Patent
- Exclusivity– A business that has a patented product is at an advantage; they have exclusive rights to commercially benefit from the product. For a certain period, a business can make use of the invention exclusively, dominating the market and benefiting from their invention.
- Attract investors– Business that deal with patented products are likely to attract investors. Potential investors, shareholders and business partners perceive patented products as a sign of superior quality, professionalism and capability.
- Market advantage– Patented products have exclusive rights in the market. As such, businesses that have patented products have virtually little or no competition. Similar products may exist or be made, but they will not be exactly the same as your patented product.
- An investment– A patent is considered to be a business asset. A patent can be sold or even licensed to another entity. An inventor can choose to license the patented product to another party to be utilized commercially. As the exclusive owner of the patent, the inventor can also sell the patent to a second party. Should an inventor choose not to exploit his invention, he can still use the patent as a source of income.
Patent holders should enforce the rights granted to them under patent law. If another company is infringing on your patent, you have the right to seek legal measures to protect your patent. This may mean seeking monetary damages from the infringing party.
If the party benefitted from your patent financially, you have a right to be compensated for monetary losses.
There’s also the potential that an abandoned patent can fall back into public domain. This can occur when a patent holder fails to respond to the USPTO office. The patent holder can also file for express abandonment, which will allow public access to the patent by default.
Patents that have been abandoned and fall into the public domain cannot be patented again in the future.
A patent is undoubtedly the safest way to . There are numerous advantages to having your product patented. However, it is important retain the services of a reputable law firm that will expertly guide you through the process.