A patent is like insurance. You want to have it in place well before you need it. Unfortunately “creative types” sometimes move forward with business plans before calling a patent lawyer. You don’t want to put video of your invention on the web, present a class, or show a prototype of a new product at a trade show until you have the shield of a patent in place.
In the United States, there is a grace period of one year to file a patent, but in some cases you may lose your right to foreign patent protection by showing the public your invention. Basically, the sooner you call, the better your options.
Some hobbyists or crafters may not know how many of a novel item they may sell. If you have a unique idea, give us a call! One cautionary story involves a simple invention that never applied for a patent. The product is a sturdy strap that helps workmen safely move large items. Over 10,000 of this item has been sold, but the inventor never got a percentage of all competitor copies of his idea sold because he never applied for a patent. Now copycats are making easy money off his good idea- it’s selling for several times its cost at several large retailers across the U.S.
It may amaze you how easy it is to counterfeit an item. We’ve found many identical looking items ranging from $10 to $1000 with complex packaging sold through major online stores. One of the only ways a consumer can tell one is a fake is it doesn’t work well or breaks easily. Don’t let your sales suffer from a bad product review done on an identical looking fake product! These lookalike items can pop up quicker than you imagine. Without having correctly applied for a patent, you are powerless to stop counterfeiters. Don’t be fooled. This is not a process you want to attempt on your own. Our patent lawyers have experience with the various types of patents you can apply for, and how to best work with the PTO, Patent and Trademark Office in Washington, D.C. (if necessary, some cases are simply applications approved with no PTO challenges).