Treat Your Inventions Like Commercial Products — Edison Did!
Support for and protection of inventors is a big topic and one we will spend more time on in future blog entries. Based on the questions and comments I’ve received, our Pleiades Publishing Services client base are a busy and creative lot. Internet marketing seems to be the distribution channel of choice. As your web developer, I want to help you every way I can.
Can you give me some information on companies that can help with my invention?
The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office site offers information and resource information. However they have an inventors forum that can be a great help to beginner inventors with their first product as well as a venue for successful inventors to share knowledge and enjoy hanging with like minded folks.
In the inventor support Chat Room you will find private and public research and development companies that help inventors develop, patent, and promote their ideas so they can be commercially licensed or sold. While many of these organizations are legitimate, some are not. Here are seven tips to help you make smart invention development decisions:
- Learn About the Patent Process. When you understand the basics of how to get a patent, you will know when invention marketers are making promises they or the patent system can’t deliver.
- Do Your Homework. Check the organization’s references, ask for credentials, and then check them.
- Be Realistic. Not every invention is patentable. Be wary of any developer willing to promote virtually any invention.
- Know Where Your Money Is Going. Ask the organization how your money will be spent. Be on guard against large upfront fees.
- Protect Your Rights. DO NOT disclose your invention to a developer over the phone before first signing a confidentiality agreement. You could forfeit valuable patent rights.
- Track Your Invention’s Progress. Once you decide to use an invention-development organization, deal directly with the agent or patent attorney who will be handling your patent application.
- Don’t Get Discouraged! The patent process can be very complicated, so you will probably need professional help. There are many good patent agents and attorneys that can help you. The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office maintains a nationwide register of attorneys and agents who meet our legal, scientific, and technical requirements.
Do I need a patent attorney or agent to file my patent application?
The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) strongly recommends that all prospective applicants retain the services of a registered patent attorney or patent agent to prepare and prosecute their applications. For information on registered patent attorneys and agents in your area, you may visit the USPTO’s Office of Enrollment and Discipline Web site
Upon request, the USPTO will send information that provides a broad overview of the process of obtaining a United States patent. They will include general requirements and a listing of the Patent and Trademark Depository Libraries.
Just a reminder — I’m not a lawyer, I don’t even play one on TV and I did not stay at a Holiday In Express last night. I’m just a retired SBDC counselor, who knows where to look stuff up — both online and IRL. In this case my sources are SBA Publications.