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Minneapolis Patent Law Blog

The decision of what patent application to file

Many decisions can come up for an inventor during the process of pursuing a patent. What choices are made in these decisions can have major ramifications regarding how able an inventor is to achieve their goals and aims regarding their invention and the protection of it. So, how accurate of information an inventor has on how good of a fit the various choices available to them would be for their particular circumstances can matter quite a bit when such decisions come up. This is why the advice and representation of a skilled patent attorney can be a crucial thing for an inventor to have throughout the various decisions related to the patent process.

Among the decisions the U.S. patent process presents for an inventor is the decision of what patent application to file. An inventor could either first file a provisional patent application, or go straight to filing a nonprovisional application.

Promoting innovation in a small business

Innovation can play a very important role for a small business. Coming up with new products and services well-tailored to the needs of their customers can help a company with staying competitive in their market. So, the level of innovation at a company can have plenty of financial impacts for it. This can particularly be the case in cutting-edge industries.

Given this, promoting innovation is something that may be a very high priority for some small business owners. There are a range of different innovation-promoting tactics businesses could employ. A recent article on Forbes’ website went over some customer-focused ways of trying to promote innovation within a small business, including:

Can processes be patented?

Patents are often associated with products or devices. However, inventing a product or device is not the only potentially valuable innovation a person could make. For example, they could invent a new manufacturing or technical process. Can processes, like more traditional inventions, be patented?

They can here in America, as U.S. patent law allows for the patenting of processes. Processes are among the things that an individual could apply for a utility patent for. For the purposes of patent law, “processes” include methods, acts or processes for doing things.

The major impacts of inventions

Inventions can bring about a lot of major changes in the world. MidAmerica Nazarene University put out an infographic regarding the impactfulness of inventions that our readers may find interesting. The infographic picks out the “most impactful invention” in each state.

The inventions on this list touch on all different sorts of areas, including: health, communication, transportation, military/law enforcement, sports, entertainment, food agriculture, business and home life. These inventions have had big impacts on people’s lives and, in some cases, major impacts on the economy or society as a whole.

How long does a patent last?

When you find yourself in the position of needing a patent to protect your new product or invention but are new to the process, it’s easy to feel a little overwhelmed. One of the first steps is learning a little bit about the different kinds of patents that are available, what each of them specifically cover and how long they last.

To help you get started, here are some of the basics things that you might need to know about patent types and their term lengths.

Why is a detailed patent search important?

There are many requirements that go along with the patent process. However, it is not just the required steps that can be important ones when looking into getting a patent for an invention. Take patent searches for example.

This is a search typically done prior to filing a patent application. Such a search involves a review of the patents and filings out there to see if a given invention has already been patented/disclosed.

Hmm. Can that be patented?

You've just invented the greatest thing since the dawn of man. Now what? If you're an inventor or small business owner in Minnesota or South Dakota, your next step should be to find out if your creation is patentable.

In essence, a patent protects a product or invention from being made, sold, used or imported into the U.S. without the inventor's express consent or license. A patent is the best - and sometimes only - way to protect the hard work you've put into your invention.

Healthcare tech startups and the Twin Cities

It appears that Minnesota, especially the Twin Cities, is seeing a fair amount of startup activity in the healthcare tech field these days.

Data points to Minnesota healthcare tech startups having drawn in a fair amount of funding in the past couple of years. It is estimated that, in both 2015 and 2016, the annual total of funds raised by such startups was well over $400 million. This is well above the totals Minnesota’s neighbors have seen. A good bulk of the startup funding is coming into companies in the Twin Cities area.

Why do I need a patent?

At the end of the day, all inventors really have are their ideas. In terms of value, however, they may as well be gold bullion since nothing could be worth more to creative and entrepreneurial thinkers.

The best way to protect intellectual property -- and end up with a marketable invention -- is to get a patent. That doesn't mean, however, that every inventor should run out and patent every new product or business opportunity -- the process can be extensive and costly. On the other hand, if you have a breakthrough idea or uncover a niche product with market potential, the benefits of a patent could prove invaluable.

Low-tech toys still have a big place in the market

Technology has come to play a bigger and bigger role in people’s lives lately, particularly among young people. This might lead some to assume that high-tech toys would be king these days in the toy market. However, it appears that such an assumption would be inaccurate. While there are plenty of high-tech toys out there, data on market trends indicate that low-tech toys continue to have a dominant role in the toy market.

Recent data indicates that 2016 saw sales increases in various types of low-tech toys, including classic toys, games/puzzles, adult party games and family strategy games.

Don't risk losing your intellectual property rights by failing to act.

Register for patent, trademark or copyright protection by calling Kaufhold & Dix at 612-216-1161 or 605-334-1571.

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