Patent Attorney Q&A
I recently applied for a Patent on an invention.
Below are a few questions I asked a qualified Patent Attorney, and the answers I received:
Patent Attorney Questions...
1. What are the steps I need to take legally to make sure I am not copying anyone else's idea, and that my idea will not be copied.
The first and most important step you must take is to conduct background research on your invention to make sure that it has not already been patented. You can and should try to do this research before hiring a lawyer. Once you hire a lawyer he or she will do their own independent research to verify that your invention has not already been patented, regardless of what your own research determines. The next step is for your lawyer to submit a patent application which claims that you have invented something new. At that point, a patent examiner will do another independent search to verify that you have not copied anything that has already been patented. Those are the steps of the patent application process that ensure that you are not copying anyone else's idea. These steps also ensure that once you have received a patent no one else will copy your invention because all future applicants will see your invention has already been patented if they try to apply to patent the same idea.
2. What amount of money should I expect to spend on a patent attorney and patent to ensure the above?
The amount of legal fees you might incur to obtain a patent can vary greatly depending on the complexity of your invention. For instance, a very simple invention might cost close to $7,000 while a very complex invention could be close to $20,000 if not more. Please see this article for a detailed breakdown of patent costs: http://www.ipwatchdog.com/2015…
3. Does patenting a product prevent it from being copied by the Chinese or any other company overseas?
A US patent prohibits anyone from manufacturing and/or selling your invention in the US. If you want to stop people from making/ selling the invention in other countries, you will need to apply for patents in those countries as well.
4. Do I have to apply for a USA "and" and International patent?
As mentioned above, you must apply for patents in all countries in which you wish to protect your invention. Fortunately, most countries have streamlined the process of applying to several areas of the world at the same time. It is always best to apply for patents in every country you wish to obtain one simultaneously, because in many countries you will not be able to receive a patent after your invention has already been discovered in another country more than a year prior to your patent application. For instance, if you receive a patent in China in 2016, you will probably not be able to patent the same thing in the US in 2018 because the patent examiner will find that your invention was already discovered and patented (despite the fact that you were the one who originally discovered and patented it in China).
5. What are my chances HONESTLY of actually going after a company overseas and shutting them down, who directly copies my idea?
Your chances of enforcing a patent overseas are excellent. Most countries take Patent Law very seriously. If you have a patent in another country, it should be very easy to find a lawyer in that country who will enforce it for you.
6. How can I take legal action internationally?
You would find a law firm in the country you are seeking to enforce your patent, or find a law firm here in the US that has foreign offices. Either way, your lawyer will be able to pursue your patent claim on your behalf.
7. Whom do you recommend I speak to?
You should do a search for a "patent prosecutor" near you. I am not sure where in Colorado you live, but I am sure there are plenty of good patent prosecutors in your area that a simple internet search will reveal. You should contact a number of them and find the person you feel best about working with - different lawyers can have very different personalities and its always best to find someone whom you feel good about working with and is well-qualified to complete the work.
8. Where is there a reliable website source online that you could point me to where I can get more VALID and HONEST and RELIABLE detailed info about this?
You can look up attorney backgrounds at http://www.martindale.com/ and/or https://www.avvo.com/. If your question is where to find information about whether your invention has already been patented then you should follow the steps explained here:https://www.uspto.gov/learning…
9. Why do we need patents if someone can simply make a slight adjustment or alteration to our invention and undersell us out of business?
One could argue that the reason we have patents is so that no one can "simply make a slight adjustment or alteration to our invention and undersell us out of business." If you decide to go through the process of obtaining a patent you will probably find that it is not an easy process and that slight adjustments and alterations are usually not enough to receive a patent. In fact, even if a patent is granted in such a case, you can then sue that person and claim in court that their patent is simply a slight alteration of your own invention and should be held invalid because they did not deserve a patent in the first place.
10. How long does a Patent take to process?
That depends on the complexity of the patent. See this article for a full breakdown: http://exitpromise.com/patent-…
11. Is there a difference between a US Patent and and International Patent?
Yes, US patents only protect you in the US. See this article for a full explanation: https://www.uspto.gov/patents-…
12. How many years to Patents last?
20 years from the date you file your patent application.
That was pretty thorough advice. Getting a Patent on an invention is no joke. It's expensive. But is it worth it? Your thoughts?
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