Protecting Your Idea With Patents
Welcome to Protecting Your Idea With Patents Part I
I am Nancy Flint and I regularly work with my clients to protect their ideas with patents.
A U.S. patent is a grant by the federal government to PREVENT OTHER people from using your invention.
When you have a patent no one can make, sell, offer to sell your invention or import your invention in the U.S. without your permission.
U.S. patents only protect you in the US.
If you want patent rights in other countries, you need to file in those countries.
If someone makes or uses your invention in a country where you don’t have a patent, like China, they can’t import it into the US. But you can’t stop them from using your invention in China.
It is not enough that your invention is “new” “novel” to get a patent. It must also be “useful” and “non-obvious.” This last requirement means your invention must be sufficiently different from EVERYTHING that already exists to be awarded a patent.
If you are going to file for a patent, and especially for a utility patent, you should have a professional “prior art” search run to see what exists and see if your invention is “novel.” Searching the Internet is not a substitute for a patent search.
Searching the U.S. Patent & Trademark Office database by keywords is a good first step, but it is not a good indicator that no one filed for your same idea already.
The reason is that people can use any words they want to describe their invention, so you may not find everything relevant when searching by keyword. Also, keyword searches give you a lot of irrelevant results.
There is no requirement that you conduct a prior art search. However, it is important and very useful to know the patents and applications that are most relevant to your invention.
If someone has already patented your invention, you will save yourself the time, effort and money in trying to patent that idea.
Knowing what already exists gives you a chance to modify your idea if necessary to have a better chance of getting a patent.
To make the most of your invention, make sure you search to see the closest prior art; and file a patent application in a timely manner.
Please watch the next video Protecting Your Idea With Patents Part II for more details on filing for patent protection for your invention.
Contact me for a free consultation on protecting your idea with patents.