Patents Are Essential Assets
Maintaining a competitive edge in today’s "idea economy" requires effectively guarding your intellectual property rights through the use of US patents. The core value of most businesses isn’t in land, equipment, manufacturing facilities, or other physical property. Today, the most valuable assets of many companies are knowledge-based intangible assets such as proprietary know-how and the innovative application of new ideas or methods of doing business.
The first company to capitalize on a new innovation enjoys a lead-time advantage in setting manufacturing, marketing, and distribution channels in place. These advantages, unfortunately, are only temporary. A successful business model is an open invitation to the competition. A patent helps establish strong and effective monopoly rights for your business by erecting legal barriers preventing competition. Without adequate patent protection, it is only a matter of time before existing and new competitors enter your market, steal your idea, and drive down prices.
US Patents are essential business assets that can enhance profit margins, contribute to monopoly or licensing revenue, and increase market share and name recognition for your company and its product lines. It is not unusual in technically crowded fields for businesses to protect improvements in known devices with a broad array of patents. These multiple patents are commonly used to leverage negotiations and often lead to cross-licensing arrangements between rivals in the same field.
In its simplest form, a patent is a monopoly granted by the United States Government to an inventor to enable the inventor to exploit the benefits of his creativity. A US patent permits an inventor to exclude others from making, using, selling, or importing an invention throughout the United States without the inventor’s permission. By providing inventors with the security that they will enjoy the fruits of their hard work and ingenuity, patents encourage innovation.
There are different types of US patents available in the United States: utility patents, design patents, and plant patents. A utility patent protects the function of an invention and has a term of 20 years from the date of filing. Design patents, on the other hand, only protect the overall appearance of an invention and have a term of 14 years from the date of issuance. A plant that an inventor has produced asexually (without seeds) may be protected by filing a plant patent. Plant patents have a term of 20 years from the date of filing.
There are certain deadlines that an inventor must meet in order to avoid the loss of patent rights. One of these is that in the United States an inventor must file a patent application with the United States Patent and Trademark Office within one year of the first date on which the invention was offered for sale or made public. Failure to do so will result in a loss of all patent rights. Inventors and entrepreneurs should be careful in revealing a new innovation or business method to a manufacturer or venture capitalist, for example, without adequate legal protection. The terms "offer for sale" and "public disclosure" are interpreted broadly and encompass a wide variety of fact patterns. In many foreign countries, patent rights are lost once a public disclosure or offer to sell an invention is made. As such, you should consult with a Florida Patent Attorney before revealing your invention.
At Gold & Rizvi, P.A., we have dedicated our practice exclusively to securing and preserving the intellectual property rights of our clients. As Registered Patent Attorneys, providing effective legal barriers to competition is the primary focus of our specialized practice. Protecting innovation is our passion. We are The Idea Attorneys®.
Request a free evaluation of the patentability of your idea by one of our Registered Patent Attorneys. You will also receive a fixed-fee estimate of fees and costs and an information packet outlining the steps involved in obtaining protection for a new or improved product or process.
If you would like to speak with a Florida Patent Attorney about your particular situation, please do not hesitate to call our office.