Hello! Thank you for taking the time to visit All About Inventing – MY NEW BLOG! Many of you follow me on twitter. Thank you! If not, visit www.twitter.com/evansiplaw and tweet with me. I need more than 140 characters to express myself. Twitter keeps me brief…and I like that. However, as an intellectual property attorney, I am frequently asked questions that I feel can easily be answered here. I will be blogging about patents, trademarks and copyrights….and more! We will explore non-traditional intellectual property topics too. This blog is going to help you! My target readers are inventors, entrepreneurs, patent owners, patent infringers, artists, and authors, to name a few. This blog is for anyone interested in learning more about patents, trademarks and copyrights.
Remember, the information on this site is not meant to be used as legal advice. Seek the help of a qualified intellectual property lawyer who can help you to resolve your specific intellectual property issue!
Also, be sure to visit my Firm’s website (www.EvansIPLaw.com) and subscribe to our newsletter on the PUBLICATIONS page. This is a great way to stay informed about Firm events and intellectual propery news you can use!
You know what they say about assumptions, right? Too often, people make assumptions about patents, trademarks, copyright.
Intellectual property (IP) is divided into three types, patents, trademarks and copyrights. First, patents protect inventions. Trademarks protect the names of those inventions. Copyrights protect written materials. Be certain that when you are consulting with an attorney or investor about your intellectual property, you are able to speak intelligently. Expressions such as, “Oh, I want to patent my brand” or “I want to trademark my invention” sound like fingernails going across a chalkboard to an IP attorney.
Avoid making assumptions to ensure:
- You don’t waste your time consulting an attorney on something that you don’t own the rights to.
- You don’t spend unnecessary funds and invest them in your IP wisely.
Patents are a type of intellectual property that protect inventions. If you want to find out more about patents, you can visit to www.uspto.gov (United States Patent & Trademark Office). They do a great job of providing generic and free information. Don’t forget to consult with a qualified IP attorney to discuss your specific issue. Remember, Google is not your lawyer! LOL!
THERE IS NO PERCENT RULE
Inventors often ask, “What percent do I need to change the invention so that I can get a patent?” Often, inventors assume that they can invent something or that they can patent something by changing a percent of something that already exists. That is one of the biggest assumptions that people make and it’s very wrong.
Here’s the truth about patentable inventions:
- When you invent something, the invention is required to be useful and solves a problem.
- The invention is required to be novel or new. If you notice that something already exists that’s identical to what you’re doing, even if that person has not filed a patent application on that invention, you can’t file it because your invention is not patentable.
- The invention must be non-obvious. That is, would it be obvious to one of the ordinary skilled within the art, to take what’s out there and combine it to make the invention.
For example, changing the size, shape, color, material or attaching a button instead of a zipper on something are typically obvious changes such that an invention would not be patentable.
What is another patent assumption you’ve heard?
Kudos to you for contacting an intellectual property attorney to protect your patents, trademarks and copyrights! You’ve gone to Google but thank goodness you recognize that Google is not your lawyer. You’re ready to hire a professional!!
Here’s what you can expect during a consultation:
First, expect a confidential relationship between yourself and the attorney. Scheduling a formal consultation, allows you to establish an attorney-client relationship with an attorney. The attorney is required to keep the information presented confidential so don’t waste time asking your attorney to sign a confidentiality or non-compete agreement.
General Answers to your IP Questions
For the sake of the limited time available for a consultation, it’s great to submit a list of your questions to the attorney prior to the scheduled consultation. This will give the attorney an opportunity to meet your expectations and provide you with answers or provide you with more details of what’s necessary to retain the Firm to resolve any issues that may require additional time.
Waiting to schedule a consultation may jeopardize your rights. Don’t wait! You’ll feel so much better about understanding your options fully and you will know what’s required to protect or enforce your intellectual property!
Are you READY?
HELLO 2021! Happy New Year! Have you set your intellectual property resolutions? That’s right! Add intellectual property to your 2021 goals…Protection? Enforcement? Policing? What will you accomplish this year?
Owning a domain name does not necessarily mean that you own the trademark and vice versa.
A domain name is your web address e.g. www.evansiplaw.com. Owning a domain name does not necessarily give you trademark rights and vice versa. If the domain name is only used as an Internet address, it will not be qualify as a trademark. For example, if the domain name is only used in the address bar or if it’s used as part of the contact information for the domain owner, this use does not qualify as trademark use. However, if the domain name is used as a source identifier for goods and services, it may be eligible for trademark protection. It’s critical that the domain name be viewed by consumers as a symbol of origin of products or services.
Does your .com qualify for trademark protection?
Do you have a great idea? Is it an actual invention? Can you describe it in a way that someone could make or use your invention?
Great! You’ve invented the next best thing and now you’re ready to tell the world. Slow down! Did you know that if you disclose your invention to others you may lose the right to file a patent application to secure patent protection for your invention? Once you disclose your invention, you have one year to file a patent application or your disclosure is considered giving your invention away to the public. If you’re just dying to tell someone about your great idea, consult a patent attorney! The consultation or discussion with a patent attorney doesn’t start the clock and a consultation is a great start to learn more about how to protect your idea and ensure you fully understand your options.
Also, a consultation is a great time to discuss any prior art that you may have found after you conducted your own. Wait? You didn’t do any research? This is one of the biggest mistakes inventors make! Take a few minutes to research your invention. Use free resources such as uspto.gov, google.com/patents and even conduct a simple word search on Google. If you uncover your invention, you know your invention is not patentable. If you are unsure of how to interpret the prior art, a patent attorney can help you determine if the invention is patentable.
Remember, the early bird gets the worm and the first to file gets an early filing date! Of course, you want to file a patent application to ensure you’re the first to file, but don’t make mistakes that may jeopardize your patent rights!
What are other ways you can jeopardize your patent rights?
What an accomplished feeling to learn that your novelty search revealed that your invention is patentable. However, will the USPTO agree? Hopefully, they will eventually grant you a patent, but anticipate the time it takes for this to happen and be prepared for the back and forth process of responding to Office Actions.
When you file a patent application at the USPTO, it’s assigned to a Patent Examiner about 3-4 years after filing the application. The Examiner will review the application for informalities and also conduct a prior art search to determine if the invention is patentable. A good prior art search conducted prior to filing the application can help your attorney to draft a strong patent application with patentable claims and it can also help you to anticipate any rejections. Once the application is rejected, the Applicant is given 3 months to respond to the Office Action. At this time, the Applicant can amend their claims and provide arguments to show why the invention is patentable. The response may not necessarily convince the Examiner the first time, but don’t give up! A skilled and qualified Patent Attorney can help you to interpret the Office Action and the Attorney can help you to create an action plan about how to overcome the rejection. If you hit a dead end with the Examiner, you can file an appeal and present your arguments to a panel of USPTO Judges.
Simply put, you can anticipate receiving an office action from the USPTO, but don’t be discouraged. Anytime worth having takes time!
How long did it take the USPTO to register your patent?
Ready to learn more about the trademark timeline? Now, what exactly is the trademark timeline? The trademark timeline is what will happen after a trademark application is filed.
First, it’s important to be clear on what you can file at the USPTO to get federal trademark protection. A trademark is a source identifier. This can be an expression, a word, symbol, scent, sound, shape, or color that is used to identify your goods or services.
Once a trademark application is filed, it can take 3-4 months before the application is assigned to a Trademark Examining Attorney. The Trademark Examining Attorney’s job is to determine if your trademark application has any issues and to review your mark to determine if it’s likely to cause confusion with a confusingly similar mark. Your mark may also be highly descriptive or worse, generic! If there is an issue, the Examining Attorney will issue an office action and allow you six months to respond to the action. If the Examiner’s review determines that the application has no issues, the mark will be published in the Official Gazette for third parties to challenge the mark. If no third parties challenge the mark, then the USPTO will register the mark. YAY!
In a nutshell, the average time to complete this process is about 1 year. Often people assume the process is shorter and call attorneys in a panic to get a mark registered.
How long did it take the USPTO to register your mark?