Patents and Why You Need One

May 11, 2018
Ashley Shaw

For your business ideas to be successful, you don’t need to reinvent the wheel. But to secure your ideas for future profit and success, acquiring a patent can be critical.

What exactly is a patent?

A patent is a legal document that grants the owner the “exclusive right to prevent others from making, using, offering for sale, or selling the patented invention” for a limited period of time (Cornell Legal Information). To acquire protection in the U.S., every patent application is submitted to the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO). Included in every utility application are specific claims that must be statutory and protect ideas that are new, useful, and non-obvious in order to receive patent protection. The more that the elements of the claims satisfy these criteria, the “stronger” their ability becomes to protect and prevent infringement of a patented invention.

Why do I need one?

Keep in mind, patents focus on prevention rather than creation. In other words, patents do not ensure that your idea will be a success, only that others will not be able to use it without your permission. But, when your idea does become a success, having it patented will provide you with the unique opportunity for even greater profit as no other company can legally produce your same idea or product.

When should I apply for one?

Now! There are 532,317 currently unexamined patent applications on backlog (USPTO March 2018 Patents Data). Given this statistic, it is no surprise that the overall process (from starting the application to acquiring a patent) ranges from two to five years. Waiting even a week to begin your application is as risky as waiting until rush hour to begin a road trip. If you have an idea, don’t hesitate to begin the process!Don’t let that timeframe intimidate you from applying. The majority of that time the patent is in a state of limbo, pending review. Though, to even get to that point, you first have to begin the application.

How do I start?

To ensure that your idea is novel, hire a patent attorney to perform a comprehensive patent search. If the results of the search do not read on your invention, the application process is ready to begin. A patent attorney can help guarantee that your application is not only successfully submitted for review, but that your claims are solid enough to protect your idea from infringement, too.

Now what?

Chances are, if you’ve read this far, it’s probably because you’re actively looking to patent an innovation of yours (or maybe even two!). Once you’re ready to take your idea to the next level, attorneys at Sumsion Business Law will gladly take it from there.

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