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Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Make Sure You're Prepared For The Patent Apllication Process

Posted by patrick

By Juliet D'anjer

If you want to gain the benefits of patenting your invention, you will have to ensure that it is protected from the machinations of those who steal ideas and designs. This is possible by using the services of patent law companies that provide legal practitioners to ensure that you get what you need, since the patent process is certainly not the easiest of processes.

Getting a patent means a lot of hard work, where one has to file an application with the relevant patent authorities. The patent examiner examines all aspects of the application and may also ask for a lot of details from the applicant. The process commences with the patent application being filed at the patent office, with the examination process being completed there. Once the patent is granted, it is generally valid for a pre-defined tenure during which it cannot be copied or stolen by others.

Inventions come in all shapes and sizes, and if your widget does nothing more than add one novel concept to a mountain of old concepts, that novel concept may just be patentable. So, for example, if your video game is an automobile racing game, you might use familiar concepts such as turbo boosting your car, damaging your car when collisions occur, and displaying a racer's progress on a map of the race track, but at one point, displaying the racers was a novel idea, and perhaps patentable. Inventions which, if handled wisely, may fetch young and enthusiastic start-up entrepreneurs great success in terms of financial and global fame. Inventors not ready to file a full patent application are encouraged to file a "provisional patent application". The provisional application provides more benefits and protections to inventors than the disclosure document.

Design applications require formal drawings when filed since the look of the invention as shown in the drawings is the basis of the application. A draftsman with many years experience in preparing formal patent drawings is usually available for this service to clients. Design patents (these patents are concerned with the aesthetic appearance of the invention) must be generally within one year of the idea's conception. Design patents of this type tend to have a term of 14 years.

There are some utility patents which are also granted for components and computer parts, machines and medicines which could also come in the form of provisional utility patent application which is no exactly in the scope at this level. These patents are valid for machines and new processes, but these are not the same as design patents which are valid for manufactured articles.

Manufacturers have high stakes in patents, because they sink in large amounts of money in research and development, which needs to be protected. On the one hand, monopoly has to be limited, but if it leads to innovation, it would be beneficial to consumers. This is where 17 years of monopoly power through patents are a kind of compromise formula. Inventions that come earlier to the current one are known as 'prior art' and if you want your invention to be patented, you have to prove that it is a definite improvement over the prior art.

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