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Written by : Ramiro Creegan
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how do you protect your invention idea this video is going to give you everything you need to know about protecting ideas and inventions and the first thing you're probably going to think about is well i want to be protective of things because i don't want to lose patent rights or i don't want somebody to steal my idea but almost as importantly as being overprotective which can cause you to cause your business to fail just as much as losing your rights does so stick around we are starting right now so for those of you who are new here my name is dylan adams i am a patent attorney and author of the best-selling book patent's demystified which is an insider's guide to protecting ideas and inventions used by inventors entrepreneurs and startups worldwide including at top universities like harvard stanford and mit you might also recognize me from my appearance on cnbc's hit show the prophet with marcus lemonis this channel is all about giving you insider tips and tricks on protecting ideas and inventions so be sure to subscribe and click the little bell icon so you don't miss any important videos on patents and startups all right let's go ahead and get right into it so when it comes to protecting an invention idea the first thing you may think about is preventing others from stealing your idea and that is certainly a consideration in early stages but i also want you to consider protecting yourself from inadvertently losing your patent rights which can totally torpedo a business before you even get off the ground that's another sort of protection additionally down the road when you bring a product to market how are you going to prevent other people from knocking that off and and actually doing that idea when it's actually a product how are you going to prevent people from doing that additionally how are you going to prevent other people from patenting your idea whether or not you have it patented yourself so this video is going to explain all those things okay so let's start with preventing your idea from being stolen by others in early stages now this can be relatively easy so all you need to do is not disclose the idea to anybody right so if nobody else knows about the idea there's nobody there to to steal it okay that sounds great in theory but at the same time businesses don't do really well if you don't start talking to people about it you're gonna have to work with other people in terms of designing products doing market testing and then you're eventually going to have to get the product out there so how do you go from keeping something secret how long do you want to keep something secret to then telling people and who can you trust telling about your idea okay so when it comes to keeping an invention secret that is important for a couple reasons one is obviously because you know somebody could theoretically take your idea and they could do it themselves although i would say that that's very unlikely typically but what's very important though is that patent rights actually start to be lost upon a first public disclosure public use or offer for sale and so if you start doing those things you may actually inadvertently forfeit really important pat rights that may be important to protecting your idea or invention or attracting investors or you know selling the company down the road so that's probably the more important reason why you don't want to make public disclosures public uses or offer for sale of a product because that can forfeit patent rights unknowingly and then you can totally torpedo a business before you even get started you've already forfeited your patent rights there's no way to get those things back so when it comes to keeping things secret i usually suggest that people have an initial period where they keep things as secretive as possible and that doesn't mean not to tell anybody in terms of patent rights as long as there is at least implied confidentiality you're going to be protected and you're not going to be losing patent rights from a public disclosure or or public use you know for instance like telling your spouse about your idea that's going to be fine as long as you trust that person the issue is if you tell other people and they disclose it that could potentially forfeit patent rights which is not good and it allows other people to know about the idea so you know make sure that people understand this is something that's important to you they should keep it confidential and potentially have them sign a non-disclosure agreement a lot of times people are really put off by non-disclosure agreements so i would say only use that if it's absolutely necessary um you know it's something that should be used selectively and not necessarily as as a default again you know when it comes to potentially forfeiting patent rights you know you don't need to actually have a non-disclosure agreement as long as there's implied confidentiality but at the same time you know i think people should try not to keep something secret all that long they should try to get it public and start talking to people about it as soon as possible but do it safely but before we get there let's kind of talk about that initial period and what you should be doing while you're keeping things secretive so the first thing is you want to determine whether your idea is actually going to make a good business and and i'll tell you you know i see a lot of ideas with my clients coming in you know they have interesting and clever ideas but they do the analysis they do a market analysis and kind of look at hey who are the people who are going to be buying this what is the market like how much can i produce this for how am i going to actually turn this into a product and they realize that well hey it's a really cool and clever idea but it's not going to make a good business or product and you need to figure that out before you start going on to earlier steps a lot of times you can do this fairly easily inexpensively if not free and using resources just like doing google searches or maybe doing confidential uh discussions with people so my suggestion here is you know do some search of the market determine who the customers are figure out if your idea really is going to be a good business that's the first thing that you should be doing and determine hey is this something that people really need are they really going to buy and can i produce it at a price point that people are actually going to want to buy it at those are all the things you should be doing during this initial confidential period okay but when you're ready to start looking looking for investors actually start talking to customers doing public disclosures public user office for sale you first need to file a patent application and again the most important thing is because you don't want to lose your patent rights again patent rights start to be lost upon a first public disclosure public use or offer for sale so that's why you need to file a patent application i usually recommend a provisional patent application because that can be done a lot more cost effectively it gives you a lot more flexibility than
Thanks for your comment Andrea Methven, have a nice day.
- Ramiro Creegan, Staff Member
welcome to wampum Dickinson series of intellectual property top tips here we aim to provide useful guidance on how to protect your investment and innovative efforts through intellectual property rights intellectual property or IP rights can help you protect your products designs brands inventions and even creative works in this installment we will take a look at how you can protect your inventions in the United Kingdom and in the United States through obtaining a patent a patent is a registered Brite granted by the Patent Office where a patent is granted the patent owner is awarded the exclusive right for a limited period to use the technology underpinning their innovative products or processes in return for revealing their inventions to the Patent Office and the public and thus adding to the pool of human knowledge thus patents are a way of encouraging development by giving inventors the exclusive right to exploit their invention commercially either through making the product or using the process themselves or granting the right to others in exchange for a royalty or fee patents are territorial meaning that the rights are limited to the country or geographical area in which the patent has been granted this means that when you apply for a patent the loss of the country or area where you seek protection will apply so let's start with the United Kingdom in the UK subject to a few exclusions patents are available to protect products and processes which are new inventive and capable of industrial application a patent will only be granted to the extent that an invention is new an invention is new where at the date you file your patent application the invention has not been made generally available to the public if you mention has been disclosed or made available before the application is filed the invention may not be considered new and you may be prevented from securing a patent it is for this reason that if you think you have an invention that is patentable it is very important that you keep your ideas secret you can normally discuss your idea with a patent attorney or legal adviser because they will have obligations of confidentiality but otherwise you should think about putting in place a confidentiality agreement if you need to discuss your invention with other people providing that the invention is new it also has to involve an inventive step in the UK this has also become known as the obvious test the product or process will not be considered inventive if the invention would be deemed to have been an obvious development over what was known in the field prior to the dates you apply for your patent in simple terms this is because if something is obvious it cannot be considered to be truly inventive if the invention was not obvious to a person who knows about the specific subject area and has expertise and skills in that field the person commonly referred to as the skilled person then the invention can be considered to involve an inventive step in addition to being new and not obvious the invention must be capable of being made or put into practical use and must not be expressly excluded from patent protection under the law in the UK such exclusions include amongst other things discoveries or mathematical or scientific theories creative works including literature art or music computer programs or methods of treatment or diagnosis in the care of humans or animals now let's look at the u.s. the leahy-smith America Invents Act which transitioned the u.s. from a first to invent regime to a first to file system like that operated in the UK sets out the requirements for inventions in respect of which you can be granted a patent in the US this includes satisfying the subject-matter eligibility requirement the novelty requirement and the non-obviousness requirement let's look at each of these in turn a patent will only be granted to the extent that an invention meets two criteria for subject matter eligibility first the claimed invention must be directed to one of four categories processes machines manufacturers and compositions of matter second the claimed invention must not be directed to an exception to the four categories listed unless the claim as a whole includes additional limitations amounting to significantly more than the exception these exceptions are limited to abstract ideas laws of nature and natural phenomena if the subject matter is eligible for patent protection the claimed invention must also be deemed novel or new US laws provide detailed requirements for novelty however generally speaking subject to certain exceptions a claimed invention will be regarded as novel as long as it was not patented not described in a printed publication such as a journal article or not in public use on sale or otherwise available to the public before the filing date of the claimed invention as previously mentioned there are various exceptions to the rules most notably of which disclosures made by the inventor less than one year prior to the filing date of the patent application will not destroy novelty in addition to being eligible subject matter and novel acclaimed invention must also be non-obvious whereas novelty is an objective standard non-obviousness is much more subjective and is based on a greater number of considerations the general standard is that a claimed invention will be regarded as non-obvious provided that it would not have been obvious to a person having ordinary skill in the art before the filing date of the claimed invention thus a determination of obvious Ness considers not only what is expressly described in other patents and printed publications but also what would be expected to be generally known to others of similar skill in the field of the invention the registration of an invention as a patent can be beneficial to the owner in a number of ways you can protect your invention even when comes known to the public for inventions that can be reverse engineered patents are generally the most effective way to prevent third parties from exploiting your invention while it lasts it can act as a lawful barrier to entry against your competitors who must either not employ the technology described in the patent or if you agree pay you to make use of your invention your rights are clearly defined on a public register which can make enforcing your rights against other companies or people who've used the technology without your permission less time consuming and less costly than proving breach of confidentiality or breach of contract claims if you have an invention which you think could be patented we encourage you to speak to an IP attorney before you speak to any third party whether this be a friend a contractor a distributor or even a potential investor if you want to know more about protecting your inventions please contact the intellectual property team at Womble bond Dickinson we hope you have enjoyed this intellectual property top tips video thank you for joining us
Thanks Kristofer your participation is very much appreciated
- Ramiro Creegan
About the author
I've studied business administration at Lynn University in Boca Raton and I am an expert in xenobiology. I usually feel melancholy. My previous job was government service executives I held this position for 28 years, I love talking about animal fancy and landboarding. Huge fan of Diana Ross I practice ultimate frisbee and collect cheese labels.
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