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LOVEN Patents & Trademarks
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Preparing to apply for a patent

Applying for a patentThere’s a lot you can do to help yourself before contacting a patent attorney to start the process of formally applying for a patent.   Here are 5 tips to making sure you are on the right track with your idea.

Remember the importance of confidentiality

Inventors having their ideas stolen may make for good TV, but in real life it can be a hurtful and financially-painful experience. The key to avoiding falling victim to this is to enforce confidentiality at all times. Only communicate your ideas if you absolutely must and if you absolutely must then use a secure channel and have appropriate non-disclosure agreements in place. A solicitor can draw one of these up for you, or, if funds are particularly tight, there are example agreements on the internet, for example at the IPO website. Avoid communicating your idea even to people you trust, because this will eliminate the possibility either that you will find out that your trust was misplaced or that private information will be inadvertently revealed to an inappropriate party. Above all, avoid posting anything whatsoever to do with your idea on social media, not even teasers.

Check that your idea actually is original

Your idea may take an established concept and do it better (as Dyson is famous for doing) but it does have to be demonstrably new in some way in order to be patentable. Take some time to do your research and see what else is out there. If you find any alternative inventions with similarities to your own, you will then be able to discuss these with your patent attorney, who will be able to advise on whether they could cause issues with your patent application.

Make sure that your idea is actually feasible in practice

Patents are granted for inventions rather than ideas. It is in the highest degree unlikely that a patent will be granted for an abstract solution or a solution which relies on technologies which are yet to be proved to be within the capabilities of current manufacturing. Patents are granted for specific solutions which are new and inventive and are capable of being invented in the real world as it is at the time of making the application.

Confirm that the numbers add up from a business perspective

Assuming you are granted your patent, how, exactly, are you going to make money from your invention? If your plan is to make money on straightforward sales, then to whom will you sell, how will you distribute your product and how much will you realistically be able to charge for it? It may be very worthwhile employing someone to do some market research for you at this point, prior to spending money on patents and prototypes. If you looking at the “razorblade” model, where you plan to sell a key item at cost and make money on accessories, then the same questions apply and you also need to work out how you will protect yourself against people coming up with “compatible” accessories at a lower price. If you plan to make money by allowing third parties to sponsor your product in some way, essentially to use it as a publicity medium, then again who is going to do this and what is in it for them? In short, make sure that you are patenting a profitable business venture rather than just an innovative idea.

Print it or draw it

These days, advances in additive manufacturing (also known as 3D printing) are making it easier to produce working prototypes quickly and in a cost-effective way. These can be of great help in explaining the key parts of the invention to your patent attorney. Alternatively, inventors can use clear drawings and written explanations for the same purpose.

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Without an attorney to handle the complex legal and technical issues involved in obtaining good patent and trademark protection, you are very likely to end up with something too narrow in its scope and therefore easy to get round. Trying to save money on a patent or trademark application can prove to be costly down the line. Looking to protect your designs, brand or inventions the right way? Call us today:
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