Mar 4, 2015

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What you need to know about patents

What you need to know about patents

A patent is a collection of exclusive rights given by a country’s government to an inventor for a certain amount of time in exchange of a full disclosure of the invention to the public. The World Trade Organization states that patents should be available in all states and for all technological fields. The Organization further states that a patent should be held for at least 25yrs.

If a company wants to apply for a patent it should approach the patent attorney or patent agent to evaluate their patent and see if it is worth patenting. An approval by the attorney would be a great boost to a company in the process of patenting their innovation. A patent attorney is a person licensed to practice before the US patent and Trademark office.

The first task in obtaining a patent is to have a patentability search. This may cost a company between $1,000 and $2,500. It takes about a month to obtain an approval from an attorney. Then the company prepares and files the patent application. This may cost a company between $5,000 and $12,000 and it may take about 2 months. The patent application is published within 18 months after which it is filed. After approval of the patentability of the innovation, the company and the patent office enter into a negotiation phase. In this stage the patent office and the company argues about what can be patented and about what cannot be patented. This takes about 3-6 months for the two groups to finally come into a consensus. The patent application is then allowed issuance. However the cost and time required may vary from state to state.

This legal procedure may look so bureaucratic but in real sense it has a purpose. For instance a patent search has two functions. The first one is to reduce the risks of a company not getting a patent after going through the whole process. The second one is that it helps the patent attorney to prepare better and more factual claims for the company’s patent.

As soon as a company has applied for their patent they should use the term “Patent pending” in their sales journals and other production description literature. By doing so they totally discourage competitors from copying their manufacturing procedure.

Benefits of having a patent

First and foremost, when a company applies and is awarded a patent for a certain technology it prevents competitors from using it to manufacture similar products.

Secondly, it increases the total revenue of a company. A company may license their patent to other businesses, however it is rare for a company to license a patent to a direct competitor. If the product is not as profitable as first speculated the patent may be licensed to anyone or even in extreme cases it may be sold.

It is better to take precautions than to have regrets later. A company may come to realize after some time that another company is making more profit with their own innovation.
Patenting is usually a positive practice as it encourages innovation in our societies as inventions are finally given value.

Edward L. White PC is a licensed patent attorney providing premium legal services. Find out how they can assist you when you visit them online at http://edwhitelaw.com/.

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