by Michael J Foycik Jr.
February 20, 2014
The author is a patent attorney with over 28 years experience in patents and trademarks. For further information, please email at IP1lwyr@gmail.com, or call at 877-654-3336.
Stop worrying! Many inventors and businesses become paralyzed by worry when trying to advance a new idea.
What if competitors import cheap knock-offs? What if they steal your idea? What if it isn't protectable as a patent?
Here are some factors to put your mind at ease.
First, competitors won't spend money to copy a product unless they are sure it will make money. For anything that is new, how can they know? Probably only by seeing if you make money. That gives you a big head start. If your product is good, you can saturate the market before the first knock-off arrives. Also, this gives you time to establish your trademark or trade name, so that people asking for it by name will always get your product.
Second, until your idea is made public, it can be protected as a trade secret, assuming you have marked everything confidential and avoided any non-confidential disclosures. Again, this provides a real head start, with the benefits noted above.
Third, suppose your idea is so good that competitors want to immediately steal/misappropriate your idea. That can be a very good problem to have! Why? Because it means that your rights could have great value to a legitimate company, one that has power to enforce those rights for you against infringers. You see it in the news all the time: big companies investing in small companies, buying a percentage of the ownership. Big companies know how to protect their investments, and their rights.
Fourth, your US patent application gives you one year's worth of priority, for filing of PCT or foreign applications. Can't afford foreign patent applications? See the above paragraph; if your invention is good and/or successful, it can attract investment by those with enough money to pay to get foreign rights.
Fifth, if you make have success and make money, everything else tends to fall into place. Success gains the attention of the rich, the large, and the powerful.
Finally, if at all possible, consult an IP attorney early. Let the attorney do the worrying, and the helping.
This is not legal advice – for that you'd need to consult an IP attorney or a registered U.S. Patent Attorney and discuss the specifics involved.
The author is a patent attorney with over 28 years experience in patents and trademarks. For further information, please email at IP1lwyr@gmail.com
, or call at 877-654-3336.