Over the past decade, Idea Design Studio has helped numerous inventors with their ideas, and this includes patent solutions. We have all the patent tools to get your invention moving in the right direction. At Idea Design Studio, we can help inventors like you submit their ideas to the United States’ Patent and Trademark Office. We want to ensure that you retain full ownership of your work and your ideas, providing patent services that range from copyrights and trademarks, to full patents and patent searches.
Getting your invention off the ground means that you will need to start with a thorough patent search. Any time an inventor comes to Idea Design Studio with an idea, we always start with patent research. Often, patent research involves going through the US Patent Office’s current database, and comparing your idea to already existing patents that are considered non-expired. This process involves the drafting and filing of patent applications, due diligence, looking at all your patent search and validity opinions.
Here at IDS, the reason behind conducting these patent searches is to assure that our inventor’s ideas will not infringe upon another inventor’s current work or patents. Meaning we want to make sure that there won’t be any obstacles that could stop our inventors from manufacturing or selling their ideas. Once the process is finished, we can move forward and protect our inventor’s ideas on multiple fronts.
In addition, these patent searches allow us to determine the validity of the patent in question. If there is a known history of court proceedings where patent holders of related ideas may have lost their case, we want to make sure that we can be clear in the patent process, and differentiate our inventor’s ideas so that their patent protection is guaranteed.
By taking the time to research your patenting thoroughly, Idea Design Studio will be making your ideas stronger, and providing more opportunities for the licensing of your invention.
Getting Your Invention Started
The first step to making your idea a reality starts with patent research. When an inventor comes to us with their idea, the first thing we’ll do is conduct a patent search. This involves searching through the Patent Office’s database and seeing if there are non-expired patents that would cover our inventor’s idea and stop them from manufacturing their idea or selling it.
It also requires us to determine the validity of the patent. For example, if there is a history of court proceedings where patent holders of similar ideas to our inventors where the patent holder lost the case, we’ll have to be sure that we go through the patent process for their idea and clearly distinguish why our inventor’s idea should have stronger protections.
By taking the time here and going through the patenting of your idea the right way, we will be making your idea stronger with more opportunities to license it (sell another company the right to use your idea).
Filing for Copyright
The first step is to file for copyrights related to your idea. The copyright itself is effective from the moment your work is created. But this isn’t to say that you don’t need to submit it to the copyright to the United States Copyright Office. Registering your copyright puts the facts on public record and can potentially help speed up the entire idea protection process.
It’s important to remember that copyrighting isn’t right for every idea. It protects ‘original works of authorship,’ which basically means any type of writing, from novels and plays to computer code, music, or film. It won’t protect ideas, systems, or methods of operation but if filed correctly the copyright can protect the way in which your idea is expressed.
Filing for Trademark
You can trademark the word, phrase, symbol, or design that identifies and distinguishes you as the source of your products from competitors that may make something similar.
Just like a copyright, this alone will not protect your idea, but it will protect you as the source of the idea. The process can take from six months to a year from your initial filing with the United States Patent& Trademark Office.
If you want to build a business around your idea (rather than just licensing the idea to others), we typically recommend obtaining trademarks to protect your business’ identity.
Two Main Patent Types
When you go to the U.S. Patent Office, there are two common types of protection inventors purse: utility and design. These can take years to get approved, which is why we commonly recommend our clients filea provisional application first.
A provisional application is a legal document filed with the United States Patent & Trademark Office that establishes an early filing date (when you see patent pending on a product, it’s usually in this stage of the process). This involves renderings of your invention and a complete description of your idea. Once the application is filed your idea starts to have some legal protections, though it’s important to note that the provisional application loses all effectiveness if you do not file a non-provisional application within one year.
So, the question is: why file a provisional application?
The early filing date can be key. If someone has an idea that is similar to yours, you get credit for your idea on the date of filing the provisional application. This can become a very strong case for protecting your idea down the road. It also gives you some protections to show your idea to others without having to fear that they will take it away from you. As you have already filed the provisional application, they can’t legally say they came up with it first.
This process includes
- Drafting & Filing Patent Applications
- Due Diligence
- Patent Search Opinions
- Validity Opinions
Once the initial process is finalized, we can move on and protect your idea on multiple fronts.
We commonly suggest for our clients to copyright all of the notes that they have that are related to their idea.
Design Patents, on the other hand, protect your invention’s appearance. While they are less common than Utility Patents, they are cheaper and faster to get approved – it usually takes only one to two years to get a Design Patent approved.
If how your invention looks is an important feature, it’s a good idea to file for a Design Patent. This being said, it can be easy for a competitor to design their version around your patent and it’s difficult to use a Design Patent to protect different versions of your idea.
There is a third type too: Plant Patents. These are for any plant that reproduces asexually and is a true genetic copy of the original. The common Plant Patents are for mutants and hybrids as well as newly found seedlings and protect the patent-holder for 20 years.
Depending on the situation, it might be a good idea to file for both a design and utility patent. This is best when your idea’s function and appearance are equally important or if there is a potential loophole for someone creating a competing product.
Worried that your idea isn’t patentable? Contact us for a free product review with 100% guaranteed confidentiality. Even when an inventor comes to us with an idea that isn’t patentable, it usually only takes a few tweaks to ensure a successful patent is possible.
When you’re ready to change your life, contact us. We’re ready and excited to help you take your idea to the next level.