When an entrepreneur in any field creates a new product, design, or other item, they have to protect what is known as their intellectual property. Intellectual property covers anything that is a unique creation to that person. In the United States and throughout the world, these ideas are protected under copyrights, trademarks, and patents, among other formats. Patents, especially, can be tricky to navigate given that they must be filed with the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) in order to have a hand in preventing infringement, but the patent filing process can confusing for those who are new to it.
In order to have the best intellectual property protection possible, it is generally wise to work with an intellectual property rights lawyer, who can walk you through the patent process. In the meantime, however, here are some of the basics to know about patent protection.
How does patent filing work? Patents are filed through the USPTO, and they also have to be maintained (like a renewal) every few years. For the most part, it is fairly inexpensive to file a patent. Typically, an inventor will file a patent and renew it every few years to keep their intellectual property protected. The process may take some months — maybe even over a year — for approval, but it’s worth it if you intend to make your product commercially available. You can also make sure that you don’t unintentionally infringe on a product that is already on the market.
Why should I file a patent? In short, filing a patent helps to protect your work and ideas from being copied by competitors. It’s all too easy to steal someone else’s creations these days, especially through the internet, where 25% of traffic goes toward consuming infringed (usually copyrighted) material. However, patents can be stolen by anyone in any industry. Former employees and trusted former business partners make up almost half of all intellectual property theft, especially in the information technology and finance sectors of the economy.
What happens if I don’t file a patent or work with a patent attorney? While there’s no guarantee that your work or ideas would get stolen, it is generally best to seek legal protections before this can occur. Essentially, the patent filing process can save a lot of grief in the long run, and it can also make it easier to defend your intellectual property in court.
All creations are different, so be sure to speak with an attorney about protecting your intellectual property. Have more questions? Leave a comment below. Check out this site for more.
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