When people hear the word patent, images of inventors toiling away in their garage or basement come to mind as they try to build a better product that will make them wealthy for life. Patents, of course, do cover inventions, but they also protect designs and new forms of plants.
An individual’s or business’s ideas, inventions, and creative endeavors are protected by the U.S. Constitution and ensuing legislation regarding trademarks, copyrights, and patents. However, only obtaining official protection through the legal system can sometimes expose you to infringement and illegal reproduction if you fail to exercise due diligence.
A trademark is a valuable asset to a company. Unfortunately, many businesses are vulnerable to trademark infringement. Infringement, however, is not the only threat that your company may be facing. Some businesses may also be at risk of becoming victims of trademark dilution.
Inventors and designers seeking to patent their creations often ask whether it is necessary to submit a prototype with their application to the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO). The answer is generally no, though a prototype may help satisfy the agency’s requirement that patent applications be as detailed and thorough as possible.
In Fiscal Year 2021, ending September 30, 2021, the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) received 650,654 patent applications, down about 3,000 from the year before. In the same year, the USPTO granted 374,006 patents.
A trademark provides an indication of the source or origin of goods or services, and distinguishes the goods or services from those of others. The proper use of trademarks is a major factor in branding or establishing a brand name.
When you come up with the idea for a new product, people are often skeptical when you try to explain your idea, especially if there’s money involved. What sounds like a great concept on paper can be very hard to bring into the real world.
Brilliant ideas can come out of nowhere like a bolt of lightning as you consider an unmet consumer need, or they can gradually develop as a result of years of hard work and professional expertise. Once you have the idea for an incredible product, getting a patent may seem like the most important step to take, but it’s not the only step in the complicated process of turning an idea into a money-making product.