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?