Kaufhold & Dix Patent Law
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Do I really need a utility patent?

As a business owner, you pride yourself on your originality and ability to develop innovative products and ideas. As useful as your skills are, if you do not take measures to protect them, you risk losing your edge, business and money. 

There are measures you can take to keep others from taking credit for your ideas and inventions. One of those strategies is a patent. Patents are not ideal for all situations. Keep in mind there is a fine line between what you can and cannot patent. To better understand the importance of having a patent, review the following information on what it is. 

Does your invention qualify for a utility patent? 

If your invention is a tangible item or certain kind of idea, then you should apply for a utility patent to keep others from stepping up and selling, producing and using it. It also gives you legal permission to market it. Keep in mind that your invention must fall into one of the following categories:

  •        Manufacture
  •        Process
  •        Matter composition
  •        Machine 

It is important for you to be the first person to file for a patent. There is always the possibility that someone else came up with the ideas and products you are working on. But that does not mean they have exclusivity rights. Individuals who filed their applications first usually receive the patents, not the person who originally came up with the inventions. 

There are no laws that say you cannot disclose your ideas and inventions to the market before you get a patent. By law, you have 12 months from the time you introduce your inventions to the market before you lose the opportunity to receive a patent for it.

However, if someone applies for your patent before you do within that timeframe and receive approval, they become the patent holder of your invention/idea, not you. It really is a good idea for you to consider filing as soon as you are ready to make your invention publicly known.

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