Idea flow chart. Myths about patents Law Offices of Zachary Hiller Houston, TX

After what has seemed like endless hours of research and labor, you’ve finally had your “Eureka!” moment and successfully created something new. Perhaps it is a better version of an existing product, or an innovative new concept that solves a consumer need. Do you know what to do to protect your creation? If the thought of applying for a patent hasn’t crossed your mind yet, you shouldn’t wait any longer to get in touch with a patent attorney! Here are some of the most common myths about patents and why holding off on getting one can hurt you down the line.

4 Myths About Patents

1. You should talk to investors before getting a patent

Commercial viability is an important aspect of the invention process. Your idea can be great, but you also need to prove it is practical. Often times, inventors are seeking investors to help make their product ideas a reality. You want to make sure that your product will be able to return your investment of time and money, and a patent can aid in that process. When you come to the table with a patent pending idea, in addition to your goals and projections, you are more likely to be taken seriously by big investors. These stakeholders don’t want to run the risk of losing their investment due to a potential patent claim in the future. A trained patent attorney can help you in this process, working to ensure that your great idea is protected by the applicable patent laws.

2. It is hard to avoid patent infringement, regardless of the niche industry

Chances are, if you invented roller blades, you may be infringing on a portion of the patent for roller skates. Maybe you think it would be better to fly under the radar than to alert anyone to your invention. This is rarely, if ever, a good idea. Should your invention come to light you may still be subject to a lawsuit. That is why the claims section of a patent is crucial and must be worded very carefully. With the help of a patent attorney you can have more protection from an infringement lawsuit with a patent than without one.

3. There is absolutely no competition out there for my plan so why should I spend the money on a patent?

A smart inventor realizes that competition is always just around the corner. It may not be exactly the same as your idea, but perhaps it performs the same function or solves the same problem as yours. It is important to keep these ideas protected. In many cases, there is great value to being the first with an idea, but you never know how long it will take for someone else to have a similar thought.

4. A patent will give me the right to sell my invention

A patent doesn’t intrinsically give you the right to sell your product. In some cases there are regulatory hurdles to overcome, depending on the product and the industry. What a patent does provide, however, is the right to exclude others from making, using or selling your invention. This is only valid within the United States and its territories. U.S. patents are issued under the following main categories:

  • Utility Patents: These cover things like machines, a method of doing something, or a product that can be manufactured. It can also cover a chemical or DNA sequence, its method of use or any products of genetic engineers. Patents such as these are typically enforceable from the date the patent is filed up to 20 years.
  • Plant Patents: This type of patent is granted to anyone who discovers or invents, using asexual reproduction, a new species of plant. This patent is also valid for up to 20 years as well.
  • Design Patents: Patents such as these cover the unique design or ornamental appearance of a device, but not its function. In some cases a product may apply for both a utility and a design patent. These patents have terms of 14 years from the date that it is granted.

To get a better understanding of how a patent can protect your ideas it is best to consult a skilled patent attorney. I can help dispel any myths about patents and make your great idea a reality.

Got questions about patents? Contact me today or get in touch on Facebook and Twitter!


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