Monday, February 16, 2009
As mentioned in the last post, I’ve had occasion to get extra patents. If possible, I apply for both a Utility Patent and a Design Patent. I want my invention (my product) covered both ways. I want rights for protecting the product’s function…and its appearance. Why not? They’re both valuable.
Besides providing fodder for profitable Licensing Agreements, the extra patent coverage gives your product (and you) more credibility. Buyers and licensees are impressed with documentation of any protections involved.
A smart inventor stays ahead of the competition (the copycats) and snoopers - looking for a “knock-off” product. You can’t afford to sit on a growing success. A good selling product is bait for lurking predators. While you’re counting profits, they’re thinking of ways to get in on it.
Knowing our Utility Patent would soon expire, we designed a new basketball return device called the Ballback Pro. The U.S.P.T.O. awarded us a new Utility Patent based on function and performance. Then we were issued a Design Patent based on its unique design and appearance. Respectively, that’s coverage for 20 and 14 more years. You should be planning ahead, too!
You should consider patent expenses (and other intellectual properties) as business investments. They are definite assets when (and if) you’re marketing, manufacturing or licensing a product. Quite frankly, if you’re not displaying such activity of pursuit -I might argue otherwise. Remember what we said about patents and their “protection” benefit. Courts favor folks displaying active pursuit.
Next we’ll cover Provisional Patents and how the help in the early stages of product pursuit.