If you’re looking at protecting your brand online, then congratulations! This means that you have already made it past many of the issues that kill so many new businesses.
But what’s next?
If your business is doing well now, that’s all well and good, but you need to do something in order to protect your ideas against theft and copycats who want nothing more than to piggyback off of your success without putting in any of the hard work that you have.
If your business is doing well, now is the time to protect your ideas against theft and copycats. These are piggyback experts who want the success without the hard work that you have put in.
So how do we beat them? With Patents!
Securing a patent means securing your idea’s future profitability and keeping the amount of competition to a minimum. Patent law comprises the hoops of legalese that you have to jump through to ensure that you get the benefits from all of your hard work.
Check for Originality
First and foremost, you need to check to make certain that your idea hasn’t already been patented. With the amount of patent trolls out there nowadays, you can never be too protected.
Websites like Google Patent Search enable you to browse all of the patents that have already been filed with the United States Patent and Trademark office. Databases like this can prove to be vital resources in your fight to prove your idea’s originality.
Don’t Tell Anybody
If word gets out that you’ve been talking about a new invention or an idea, the argument that the idea is unoriginal becomes one person stronger.
There are a myriad of ways for the US Patent and Trademark Office to deny your patent, one of which being simply on the grounds of whether or not you told somebody about it. That Facebook post about how you “have a brand new idea for computer software” could be your downfall.
Even If Your Invention Is Original, It Might Be Too Obvious
If your invention is wholly unique, original, and you haven’t told anybody out it, your patent request might still be denied if it is too similar to what the US Patent and Trademark Office determines to be the obvious and logical next step in the evolution of an existing patent.
Consult A Patent Lawyer
After seeing all of these arguments and requirements for securing a patent, you might be starting to think that there’s just no way for your idea to pass these tests.
That’s where a lawyer comes in.
New York patent attorneys say that one of the easiest ways for your patent to be denied is to try to do it yourself. Think of it this way: If you broke your leg, would you go see a doctor or would you set it yourself?
Attorneys bring years of experience and education to the table that ordinary inventors either don’t know or don’t have time to learn. Creating a new software or piece of hardware takes 110% of your focus and attention.
Once you have a lawyer, take a moment to sit down and talk about the details of your invention. Due to attorney-client privilege, your trade secrets will be safe with your attorney.
And don’t worry, this doesn’t count as blabbing about your idea, so it won’t disqualify your patent.
File A Patent Application
Once you’ve verified that your idea is original and non-obvious and have taken special care to prevent anybody from finding out about it, it’s time to start the filing process.
Although your patent attorney will take care of the bulk of the heavy-lifting, there are still a few helpful facts that you should know.
The Patent Process Can Be Pricey
How much does a patent cost? Anywhere between $750 and $40,000, sometimes even more than that! Fortunately, a good enough lawyer specializing in patent law can help you whittle down those costs. It is their job after all!
That means that your invention better be profitable, or else you’re going to go out of business long before somebody even hears about your great idea.
It Takes A Long Time For The USPTO To Approve Your Patent
If only you could say that patents are a simple file-and-done process. Unfortunately, this fantasy couldn’t be further from the truth.
The patent approval process can sometimes take as long as twenty-two months. Of course, the last thing you want to do is sit around and do nothing during this time. If the patent office thinks your idea is going to waste, they likely won’t render a positive verdict in your case.
How Does The Filing Process Work?
If you have any specific questions about how the patent filing process works, ask your attorney. The gist of it all is as follows.
First, that you will pay the filing fee, the amount of which can vary from application to application, as stated above. This fee will be used to pay for the processing of your patent from start to finish.
From there, you can essentially wash your hands of the process, assuming you’ve done the prudent thing and hired a lawyer. If not, you will have years of hard work, thousands of pages of paperwork to go through, and potentially suffer increased fees just to be denied at the end of the two-year processing time.
As you’re probably well aware by now, brand online security is about more than just changing your password every couple weeks.
If you want to protect your ideas against thieves, legal loopholes, and competition, you’re going to need to file for a patent with the United States Patent and Trademark Office.
Although this process can cost you thousands of dollars and take years (or much less time and money if you hire a patent attorney), you will be able to make your mark in history while profiting off of your hard work and determination for decades to come.