If you have a great idea for any kind of invention, you might ask yourself questions like, “how to protect my idea?” or “what can I do to prevent patent infringement?” The good news is that there are several steps you can take to make sure that your idea remains in safe hands.
Understanding Intellectual Property
The first step in learning to how to protect ideas involves understanding the term “intellectual property”. Intellectual property is a work or invention that is the direct result of creativity. It is also anything that you have rights to which would allow you to apply for a patent, trademark, or copyright. Sometimes, people get so involved with other aspects of running their companies that they forget about their most important asset, which is always their intellectual property.
Getting Patent Protection
Many people believe that applying for a patent and later receiving the patent protection is the end of the work. This is actually not at all the case. The job of the PTO, or the US Patent and Trade Office, is to issue patents for legal protection. However, the government does not actually police your patent and actively look for violators. That’s your company’s job. If there is a counterfeiter or other violator, or if your patent is about to lapse, it is your job to report the violator and renew your patent as needed.
What Constitutes Patent Infringement?
According to the PTO, once you have been awarded a patent for your invention or intellectual property, anyone who tries to make, use, sell, offer, or import an invention just like yours from another country has infringed upon your intellectual property rights. At this point, you can sue the offender in a federal court and ask for an immediate injunction that would stop the accused’s actions and prevent any further losses or damages. You can also get relief for any loss of income that the violation caused.
Steps to Guarding Your Idea
Since it’s your job to weed out patent infringement, you’ll need to be on your toes. If you want to learn how to protect ideas in the best way possible, make sure that search engines are your friend. This is the absolute best way to discover whether someone else in the country has taken your idea and is using it for a profit. Use your own SEO knowledge to complete a variety of searches, and if you find something that may constitute infringement, tread carefully. In some cases, only a slight amount of differentiation can help your competitors avoid breaking the law, even if their product or idea is quite similar to your own.
If you find yourself asking, “how to protect my idea?”, you are not alone. Learning how to protect ideas can prevent millions of dollars in losses. Remember that the internet is your saving grace in today’s day and age, and in most cases, it will tell you if anyone is stepping on your proverbial toes.