Monday, March 30, 2009

Some Important Factoids


Things are finally becoming clearer, a little more into focus each day. I'll give some information that I've learned this week that is very important if you end up doing any of this stuff.

Patents and Trademarks
Patents are a way to obtain an offensive (and expensive) stance on a utility, design, or plant invention that you may have. There are other ways to protect an invention... like a trade secret, but if your end product is meant to end up in the hands of consumers, it can most likely be reverse engineered. For example, if you are inventing a new bike, and do not file a patent within one year of your first sale or introduction to the public, anyone can create the same bike by "reverse engineering" to figure out how its made, and then sell it.

The Coke formulation is a trade secret, but has worked this way because of the large amount of ingredients used and specified process to produce. However, if Coke had filed a patent for their formulation, their recipe and method of manufacture would be public knowledge, and after 20 years would be open for public use. As it can be seen from these examples there are benefits and drawbacks from each method of protection.

A provisional patent can be filed up to a year before the regular patent. The provisional patent is not published, but merely filed away for safe keeping, and is only referred to again once the regular patent has been filed. In order to file a useful provisional patent that will offer you protection in court, the provisional patent must explain how to use and make your invention. Another important note is that you MUST file the regular patent within one year that the provisional patent is filed. If it is not filed within one year you LOSE your right to patent your invention, and it becomes public domain.

An Idea needs enough sunlight to grow, but not so much that it bakes in the sun

What do I mean by this? It's important that your idea doesn't end up in a closet, hidden away from everyone so that it dies from the lack of light. People can add insight and needed criticism to your project. It needs a healthy amount of attention from people who know about your field of invention and business but are not out to harm it in anyway. It is important that you don't publicly display or publish your invention because then you can lose patent rights, if the paperwork hasn't been filed. If you tell too many people, who can't positively effect your outcome, you could be creating more competition in the space in which you are trying to excel in. It is all a balance, and maintaining the one that is right for you.

1 comment:

Jeremy White said...

Thanks for the information. That's good advice.