Inventor’s Guide: Should You Patent Your Invention

P1030536Many people think of inventions, but only a dedicated few pursue them. The ones that do can sometimes change the world. It takes courage, persistence and the right market for your invention to truly become a reality. Although your creation might be unique and even useful, it must be marketable to justify the time and money needed to acquire a patent. The reality is only a small percent of inventions are viable to the maker.

So what does a patent do exactly? Patents help inventors protect their inventions from being stolen, copied, used or sold without their permission. This process is done through the United States Patent and Trademark Office or USPTO and grants the recipient protection throughout the U.S. In exchange you must pay certain fees and disclose your invention for public records.

When registering a patent you have two options:

 File the patent yourself: Patenting your invention does not have to be expensive. The same persistence and creativity used to produce your invention enables you to file your own patent application. It takes hard work and detailed learning on your own, but it can be done.  Many inventors have successfully written patent applications on their own. The USPTO offers many resources for independent inventors wishing to file patents on their own. Furthermore, there are a number of do-it-yourself books available as well. But patent applications are a detailed trade and your time might be better spent improving or marketing your product. You could cut your own hair but for the best results you see a stylist; the same applies here.

Hire a Patent Attorney or Agent to assist you: Hiring a lawyer or agent will cost you more than going at it solo, but you can now be assured you have skilled professionals backing your patent efforts. The difference between a patent attorney and agent is while both have a science or engineering degree and both have passed the USPTO licensing exam, a “patent attorney” has graduated from law school and belongs to at least one state bar. A patent attorney therefore has advanced advocacy skills and can advise you on legal issues such as licensing, financing, and trademarks. They will also determine upfront if your invention is worth patenting and help you discover new potential for your product. Your attorney will notify you of important deadlines and write the application for you. If your application is rejected after examiner review, an attorney would be able to craft strong arguments that may overcome a refusal.

If your invention is unique and has a clear market then filing a patent is right for you. How you choose to go about the process depends on your budget, time restraints and willingness to learn.

 

These tips were provided by LegalForce RAPC, which protects more intellectual property than any other law firm. 

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