New inventors can be either giddy or extremely secretive about their product. They either want the world to know about it or nobody at all. Regardless of which camp the inventor is in, many don’t know where to begin to bring their idea to market.
They feel their product could make the world a better place; however, without the proper guidance, inventors can easily fall into traps that could hinder or destroy their opportunity to develop and showcase their invention.
The five mistakes listed below are warning signs for new inventors or any inventor still bewildered by the system.
- Selling your invention (before applying for a patent): Your idea is one-of-a-kind or an improvement on an already current product, and it’s caught the attention of a business, but are hesitant because you do not have a patent for the invention. However, filing a patent for is costly and time-consuming. An alternative is to file a provisional patent application, which offers legal protection of your invention for up to 12 months for you to develop your idea and file a non-provisional or full patent. Additionally, filing a nonprovisional patent application is a fraction of a cost of a non-provisional patent. An additional benefit of a non-provisional patent application is that it holds open the filing date for up to 12 months, which is important in the United States as patents are based on a first-to-file rule, rather than a first-to-invent rule. Having at least a provisional patent application for your invention offers potential buyers or licensees some peace of mind and can potentially lead to a larger market and better offers.
- Public use: If you display your invention in a public setting without a nondisclosure agreement, patent (provisional or non-provisional), or some other legal mechanism to protect your idea, you run the risk of having the idea misappropriated by someone else. It is prudent to take the proper legal precautions before revealing your invention to a mass audience.
- Submitting poor provisional patent applications: Your provisional patent application is a tool that creates security for your invention, your intellectual property. A mistake some inventors make is falling prey to the ease of the application process. A provisional patent application only requires that you fill out a cover sheet and then describe your invention in any format you choose. Because of this, cheap patent vendors offer services that may sound good, but may not actually be valuable or even correct advice. Filing the provisional patent application improperly may result in denial, forcing you to start anew. Which is why it is paramount that the application has been done correctly.
- Failing to do a patent search OR ding an improper patent search: When considering a patent for your invention, you often get what you pay for. According to IP Watchdog, there are over 9,000,000 United States patents, and that doesn’t factor in all the pending applications. Your invention may stand out and prove very useful, but it’s highly unlikely not to find another design with some similarities. Achieving patent protection isn’t cheap, so make sure your search is performed expertly, so you are sure your invention is worth the investment.
Ready to protect your creation? Contact Wang IP Law Group, P.C. at 626-269-6753 or toll free.