Two great tools for inventors that won’t break your banking account: provisional patent applications and trademarks.
Successfully licensing an invention or going for a product to market requires research and the ability to talk with people about your invention. It really is impossible for any 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 that your U.S. patent application must be filed generally has begun to tick. For this reason, many inventors rush out and file a whole-blown, invention patent. That addresses the uncertainties plus enables inventors to alert folks that their invention is “patent pending.”
However, this strategy has several downsides. First, utility patents and even patent applications can cost many 1000s of dollars. Ultimately, an inventor could find that the expense outweighs the benefit. Second, in early stages, most invention designs are still evolving. Filing a patent too early could mean that it doesn’t actually reflect one of the most evolved designs and drawings. Third–and many important, for me–this investment continues to be made before an inventor has conducted real researching the market to validate marketability in the product.
Two solutions that lots of inventors–myself included–use are to file provisional patent applications and trademark applications for that invention and product name or logo.
These applications provide the very best of both worlds. At a fraction of the price 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 actually a similar to a place holder. In essence, you happen to be laying state they the filing date in the provisional patent application when and if you choose to file for a whole utility patent as much as 1 year 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 decide to file a utility patent application eleven months afterwards February 1, 2011, the priority date for the utility patent application can be regarded as being March 1, 2010, for all those material substantively disclosed and enabled inside your provisional application.
From your date you file your provisional patent application, you will find the right to write down “patent pending” on your prototype and show it to whomever you wish. 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 offers you 1 year to produce your product or service and gain market information before you actually must have the ultimate decision on if they should file utility and/or 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 least, an overview by a new product ideas.
Every product has a name, or it must. Once you start while using name with prospective licensees and customers, the invention actually becomes symbolic of the name. We have seen this happen time and time again. And then there are just countless names a product or service could take that satisfy the criteria being both catchy and able to be registered.
So give as much thought to names to your product as is possible, and include questions about the name with your market research. Once you settle on your preferred name, trademark the name. When you talk to prospective licensees, make use of the name. (Note: I did not say you must let them know you might be totally hooked on the name). However, if they become accustomed to your product’s name, they will see your trademark as another valuable asset you happen to be bringing towards the table. Plus it may further limit potential encroachment from likely competitors or knockoff products.
The underpinnings of trademark law are founded in the principle of first used, first in right. Filing of any trademark application typically constitutes use, but so does simply utilizing the trademark. In reality, in a few states you have to make use of the trademark publicly before filing a trademark application, and also in the government trademark system, a trademark must be used in interstate commerce before it might register. Therefore, use your trademark.
Once you’ve settled on and adopted your trademark you ought to identify it a trademark by using either ™ or ® as appropriate. Check your local state laws regarding using.
Generally in most states, trademark rights could be asserted regionally free of charge, simply by 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 offer the T appearance.)
Second, a trademark can 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 is actually registered as a U.S. federally registered trademark, make use of the ® (also typed by inserting the “r” between parentheses).
We have always mentioned that intellectual property, patents, trademarks and copyrights are merely tools in your inventing tool box. Using the right tool can be hugely valuable. The nicest thing about product idea is it can get you time to understand which other tools can be necessary. Likewise, trademarks really are a valuable tool inventors overlook.