Knowing when to call a patent lawyer about your innovation, design or invention is important.
This is especially true for newcomers to the field of intellectual property law, where limited knowledge of how the patent system works, combined with often limited starter resources, can turn out to be a recipe for disaster. A seasoned inventor or designer who is familiar with the process will most likely already have an existing relationship with a patent attorney, and will know at what stage they should consider presenting their project for patent consideration.However, new inventors sometimes wait too long, potentially losing valuable intellectual property rights due to the delay.
What follows are some helpful tips that you can use to determine if now is the right time to pick up that phone and call a patent lawyer.
TIP #1: The First Inventor to File Gets the Patent
Since 2013, the U.S. has become a “first inventor to file” jurisdiction.That means that even if you are the first person to invent a new product or service, if someone else beats you to the Patent Office, you are out of luck.Even if you don’t think your invention is ready for patenting, it is wise to consult with a patent lawyer, who can advise you about public disclosures, potential bar dates and alternatives such as provisional patent applications.
TIP #2: Public Disclosure Can Lead to Loss of Patent Rights
Disclosing your invention to others, even under the terms of a Confidential Disclosure Agreement (CDA), can result in the loss of rights. For example, if you disclose your invention to someone who is already inventing in that area, they may beat you to the Patent Office.And if you make a public disclosure, or even an offer to sell your product under the provisions of a CDA, you must file your patent application within one year in order to qualify for a U.S. patent.
TIP #3: Watch Your Competitors
Learning what your competitors are marketing and patenting provides insight into their product development and intellectual property strategies.Doing so can mean the difference between you being awarded a patent or being declined protection for your invention or, even worse, ending up infringing competitor’s patent.If your research indicates that several similar innovationsare already in the market, are patented and/or are disclosed in patent application publications, an early consultation with your patent lawyer can help you adjust your own product development and patent filing strategies.
TIP #4: Develop a Patent Strategy
The biggest hurdles you’ll face with your patent strategy are twofold: time and money. To handle these hurdles, consult with a patent lawyer to develop a roadmap that has a clearly defined milestones and goals that match your time and money resources. With the right roadmap in place, you’ll be able to allocate your resources more appropriately at each stage in the patent process in order to meet your strategic goals.
Tips Group offers experienced patent attorneys that can help answer your questions, review and submit your patent for approval. Contact us today to schedule a free consultation at: 1-888-818-5481.