Your Comprehensive News Source for the Toy and Hobby Industry
A patent is a grant issued by the federal
government that gives inventors the right "to exclude others from
making, using, offering for sale, or selling the invention throughout
the U.S. or importing the invention into the U.S." Three types of
patents are available:
patents, which are granted to the
inventor or discoverer of any new and useful process, machine, article
of manufacture, or compositions of matter, or any new and useful improvement;
patents, which are granted on any new, original and ornamental
design for an article of manufacture; and
which are granted on any distinct and new variety of asexually reproduced
cost for a patent depends on the type of patent and whether the applicant
is an individual inventor, a nonprofit organization, a small business,
or a corporation.
- A U.S.
patent protects your invention in this country only.
patents are granted for a term of 14 years from the date of the grant.
Utility and plant patents are granted for a term that begins on the
date of the grant and ends 20 years after the patent was first filed.
A patent holder loses exclusive rights to the invention when the term
expires or when periodic maintenance fees are not paid.
- The Patent
and Trademark Office cannot help inventors develop or market their inventions,
but will publish a notice in the weekly Official Gazette that the patent
is available for licensing or sale if the patent owner requests the
notice and pays for it.
You've Got a Great Idea?
Heads Up: Invention Promotion Firms
May Promise More Than They Can Deliver
Your Patent Ability?
Many invention promotion firms promise
more than they can deliver. Try this True-False quiz to measure your
fact that an idea is "patentable" has nothing to do
with whether the idea has any potential for commercial success.
I patent my idea, it does not necessarily mean the idea is protected.
patents protect the external or ornamental appearance of an idea;
utility patents protect the function or utility concept of an
your idea with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Offices Disclosure
Document Program may help establish the date you conceived your
idea, but it provides no patent protection.
invention promotion firms dont charge high fees in advance
Many ideas that have no market
or profit potential are patentable. The reason: Many ideas can be
patentable, but very few ideas have real commercial potential.
Unscrupulous invention promotion
firms often apply for patents that provide such limited legal protection
that it is easy for competitors to find ways to design around the
patent. In many cases, these firms will charge you several thousand
dollars to prepare the wrong type of patent application for your idea,
or to apply for a patent for your idea that provides so little protection
that its worthless.
TRUE. Find out what kind of patent protection is right
for your idea. For example, if the novelty of your idea lies in its
function and not its appearance, a design patent alone wont
provide enough legal protection.
TRUE. Some invention promotion scams claim that registering
your idea with the Disclosure Document Program "protects"
your idea. It does not.
TRUE. Reputable firms rely on screening ideas carefully.
They make money from royalties they collect once they have licensed
their clients invention successfully.