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Protect Your Innovations: 5 Steps to Patent Your Ideas

If you are an aspiring innovator who has developed a potentially marketable product, you should certainly take pride in bringing your invention into the public sphere. In order to profit from it, you must license it to another business usually a manufacturer or distributor, which will then invest in mass producing, marketing, and selling it.

However, pitching your product to any business increases the risk of your invention being stolen or no longer protected by law. The company to which you are presenting your idea could turn around and steal it and even leave you hanging without paying you any royalties.

The best way to protect both your rights and your idea is to apply for a patent. This refers to the legal declaration of ownership of an invention that safeguards both physical inventions and intellectual property (IP).

In this post, we outline the five steps you should take to protect your ideas with a patent.

Confirm your idea is Eligible to be Patented.

Before you apply for a patent to protect your invention, you must first confirm that your idea is actually eligible to be patented. The truth is the patent application process takes time and you don’t want to go through it all only to find out that someone has already invented your product.

While most inventors complete this step by relying on the search services of the US Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO), it is advised that you seek legal assistance from a patent attorney to help you in the process.

For example, if you live in the Philly area, search for the best patent lawyer in Philadelphia and allow a professional to protect your idea without jeopardizing your rights.

Conduct Thorough Research Before Submitting a Patent Application

The next step you need to take to protect your invention is to conduct in-depth research before submitting your patent application. This is especially important to do if you have a completely novel idea or concept and you need to make sure that it has never been predicted by publication in any shape.

When doing your thorough research, you need to:

  • Search through credible databases such as WIPO;
  • Perform exhaustive patent research of keywords, phrases, and inventor names that have not already been used;
  • Seek help from useful patent and trademark resources;
  • Conduct research inside magazine articles of your own.

Keep all your Records Secure

Another important step you need to take to protect your idea and your rights is to keep records. You should do this as soon as you start your invention in order to avoid having another inventor working on a similar product and potentially stealing your idea. Whether it is in the form of a journal, voice memos, sketches, photographs, or videos, the data will basically serve as proof that your product is completely original and that you weren’t copying from anyone else.

Go a step further by making a prototype of your invention in which you will provide an in-depth description of your product about how it works.

Draft Basic Confidentiality and IP Agreements

Before meeting with a patent attorney to help you protect your idea, remember to not release any records concerning your product. Not only will doing so can hurt you legally, but it can also increase the risk of your patent rights being irrevocably lost.

So, it is important that you also draft and sign non-disclosure agreements (NDAs) and other basic confidentiality and IP agreements to serve as evidence that you are the real inventor and not your employees or assistants. Make sure you have them sign these contracts in advance concerning that all the rights belong to the company.

Know That you May Also Need a Provisional Patent

Because patents are not cheap, you also have the option of filing a provisional patent to safeguard your invention fast and for less money. This type of patent will provide you with protection for one year while you gather all important materials and economic assets necessary for documenting a non-provisional patent application.

Inventions included with a provisional patent are classified as “patent pending”, implying that even if your product hasn’t been fully patented, you still hold all rights to it. For greater protection, consider applying for an international patent.

Final thoughts

Patenting an invention is an important step every inventor must take to protect their product and rights. Because this is a quite long and complicated process to go through, seeking advice from a lawyer is essential for things to go smoothly. For more help, follow the tips from our post and safeguard your invention properly.

The post Protect Your Innovations: 5 Steps to Patent Your Ideas appeared first on Entrepreneurship Life.



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