With a patent, you protect an invention, a new application or a method. Whoever violates this can be legally addressed. But proving is often difficult.
What exactly is a patent? How do you request it? Also: does it make sense?
Uh … patent?
A patent is an official document that prohibits others from manufacturing, applying, using, selling, renting, trading, importing, offering, or keeping in stock any invention. A patent, also called a patent, is an exclusive right. It can relate to:
- A new product
- A new application of a known product
- A method or a combination of these
- An establishment
A patent is valid for a specific country or continent. And it costs money. To begin with, you must decide where you want your rights to apply. And that, in addition to cost consideration, is primarily a consideration of future profit.
Determine in which countries your main markets are and where you think you can exploit your product profitably. Where do your competitors work and where can you legally stand up against infringers? Then check whether a patent right is the most suitable as protection. Perhaps brand protection or design protection is sufficient and cheaper.
Apply for a patent in the USA?
There are around sixty million patents in circulation worldwide. There is a good chance that your brilliant inspiration has already been recorded somewhere. So start by checking national and international data banks and registers. For a product with a short life cycle, a patent may not be necessary. By the time you get the patent, the market is ready for something else.
Make a try anyway? In the USA, your technical invention must meet three material conditions.
- Novelty: The product or process may not be publicly known anywhere else in the world before the date of filing the patent application, not even at the hands of the inventor himself (for example through a company brochure or a presentation at a trade fair).
- Inventiveness: The invention should not be obvious to the skilled person.
- Industrial applicability: The invention must be about a technically demonstrably functioning product or production process.
These substantive requirements do not play a role in the assessment of your application, because the USA has the untested patent (the so-called registration patent). This means that your patent is always granted. The substantive review only takes place afterwards in court if there is a conflict about the granted patent.
Note: Other requirements apply outside. And for Europe, the weather is slightly different than worldwide.
How do I get a patent in the USA?
To obtain a patent, you must submit an official patent application to the agency in the country where you want to acquire a patent. In our country that is the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO). At the European level, there is the European Patent Office .
Your patent application contains a patent application, accompanied by a broad description of the invention, whether or not provided with drawings in which you further explain the invention. You close the patent application with conclusions. You summarize the scope of protection you are looking for.
As said: in the USA you will get that patent in 22 months, abroad it is different.
If you want help with obtaining a patent, you can use a patent attorney (inventhelp), a person with a technical or scientific academic education who has obtained the legal authority to prepare, submit and process patent applications on behalf of clients (see also Wikipedia ).
Cost of a patent in the USA?
A patent in the USA costs money. Or better: filing fee. For a USPTO application via the internet, You can find the fees structure here. If you first want to know if your patent has a chance, you can have the USPTO into the ‘state of the art’. This research provides insight into the novelty and inventiveness of the invention. The costs of this investigation are one hundred euros.
The costs of applying for a patent abroad are usually higher but are highly dependent on the number of countries. If you use a patent attorney, the costs will be higher. You usually pay him or her per hour.
In the USA and most Western-oriented countries, a patent is valid for 20 years after the application has been submitted.
Is it useful to me?
As a patent holder, you can optimally reap the benefits of your efforts to develop your invention. Usually, having patent deters competitors. So you get more control over market access.
Does it actually make sense?
The biggest challenge is preparing the patent. The description must be crystal clear. A patent application can help with this. It is also important to describe the desired exclusive right to an invention well and as broadly as possible.
If you do not correctly or incompletely describe the invention in the application, any rights ultimately obtained will also be limited. In addition, you must meet a large number of formal requirements.
And whether it makes sense? Philips, Unilever and Akzo have grown big with it. At the same time, many companies invest a hefty sip of money in numerous patents, which are then dusted. It is therefore highly dependent on product, market and circumstances.
What happens if someone infringes?
Nothing at all, until you take action and initiate the alleged infringement through legal proceedings. Eventually a case to the (summary) court as a result. The court will thereby check whether your infringement request is legitimate, but it will also check whether your patent meets the formal requirements.
So being right in this case is a lot different than being right.