10 Things You Should Know About Patents

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All too often inventors and entrepreneurs spend so much time “creating” that they forget to protect the ideas and machines invented by their brilliant minds. A patent application protects what the inventor is doing and what he or she hopes to achieve in the future. Here are the top ten things you need to know about patents:

Filing a patent makes it easier for you to attract investors. Investors love patents, and filing one gives you a competitive advantage.

Timing is everything. Don’t file your patent too early, or wait until it’s too late. You must keep your product/ideat hidden or secret, file the patent, and then launch the product in the market. This process will protect your patent rights both in the United States and internationally.

The United States is the only country in the world that operates on a “first to invent” system. In other countries, the right to the grant of a patent comes with the first person to file a patent application to protect a given idea or invention. You could get help from Patent firms like InventHelp, to get a patent your product/idea at the earliest. You can learn how they help individuals to patent their ideas/innovations here: https://southfloridareporter.com/how-inventhelp-can-assist-with-new-invention-ideas/

The quickest, easiest way to begin protecting your creation is to file a Provisional Application for Patent. The U.S. Patent Office will give you a priority filing date, after which you can tag your invention “patent pending.”

It is illegal to mark products with false patent numbers. It might be tempting to take a shortcut and mark your invention with a patent number without actually going through the process, but you should be aware that doing so is punishable by law.

The omission of drawings might create a problem and cause an application to be considered incomplete and you would need to make further changes. It is required for an application to include drawings if these are needed for an easy understanding of the subject matter you are trying to cover with a patent.

There is a limit to what you can patent. Scientists cannot patent a newly discovered plant or animal, but they can patent a plant or animal that is produced by genetic engineering. In addition, some ideas are considered outside the realm of patents. For example, you cannot patent the law of the universe; it automatically becomes public property from the instant you discover it.

Some innovations are better protected as trade secrets. The Coca-Cola formula is one of the best-known trade secrets. Any invention can be protected as a trade secret as long as it remains a secret. Businesses with tight budgets sometimes sacrifice patent protection and instead spend their funding on marketing the invention before others are able to. While there are plenty of patent attorney firms, you better check the reviews of good ones here: https://www.glassdoor.com/Reviews/InventHelp-Reviews-E152162.htm 

If your invention is not novel, it cannot be patented. Look for “prior art” using the World Intellectual Property Organization’s “PatentScope” search engine. This search is a check of patents and applications to decide if any current invention is similar enough to yours that the technology that lies behind your invention will not be considered novel.

A patent will last 20 years from the date the application was filed. If you die within the 20 year period, the patent will still be valid. Your patents might be adjusted or give an extension under certain circumstances, but this is very rare.

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