Patents & Trademarks [Problems protecting your intellectual property]

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Patents & Trademarks [Problems protecting your intellectual property]

Lessons learned over the years that could have saved thousands of dollars and a lot of time

What do I do now?

I got an idea, what do I do now?  Probably one of the most common things I hear.  Then everyone is so fearful of their idea being stolen or copied that they never actually move forward with it at all.  Figuring out where to start out is hard enough as it is.  The old internet search might seem like they point you in the right direction.  Searching the “patent attorneys near me” or “how to file for a trademarK’, might help you feel like you are getting pointed in the right direction to get started.  But where do you really start and what is the “right” way to protect your idea?  Don’t try to do it yourself.

Utility or Design

My venture started with a drawing and the same concerns.  After much research and attempting to find out what to do, I learned about how the law was changed years ago from “first one with the idea” to “first to file”, which I actually thought is good, but how do you file properly.  I learned about the Provisional Patent Application which can protect your Intellectual Property (IP) rights for a year and give you time to file a full Utility Patent Application.  This is a helpful way to protect your idea while you finalize the details, but keep in mind, a Utility Patent covers multiple claims of an invention and differs from a Design Patent.

Specializing in Industry

At the beginning I learned about Patent Agents.  They’re not attorneys, so they are limited in the scope they can cover, but can be of service.  However, make sure that they specialize or are at least very familiar with the industry for which your invention is for.  This was an extremely expensive lesson.  The application for a utility patent is confusing enough, but to learn that the person reviewing the application at the patent office just so happens to specialize in the industry that they are reviewing patents for, was a lesson learned far too late.  Think of it like having a conversation with some stolen valor idiot.  Nothing they say makes any sense.  You ask what their MOS was and they say “I was Marine Airborne Force Recon Paratrooper.”

Office Actions, Filings, Re-Filings, and more…

So submitting an application not only covers the many different things make up your invention, you have to cover other possible patents/IP that are already protected, because they will kick that back faster than you can imagine.  That is an office action.  The ‘Try Again” of the US Patent and Trademark Office.  Filing a patent application costs enough as it is.  Imagine adding in office action after officer action, and the refiling fees each time, attorney/agent fees, and USPTO only allows so many of these actions before it is denied completely.  It takes longer and longer, costs you more and more, and may end up screwing the whole thing up completely and you’re out all together; the money and the protection of your idea.

Get it done right

Do it right the first time.  Find yourself the proper person or team that can do the job right.  Don’t hire the electrician to plumb your house.  I mean you can if you want, but will it be done properly and to the outstanding level you may end up needing it to be in case someone tries to steal or copy your invention and you have to protect it?  Will it cover all the details of your invention they way it needs to be covered?  Does the person filing it know the people in the patent office reviewing the applications for that specific industry?  Here is where I’ll throw out my recommendation for the man who has been nothing short of amazing for my company and so many others.  Eric Fugett with Pitchfor Fugett, PLLC has been our go to for years ever since learning the error of my ways.  Who ever you chose to go with, make sure they can do the job the right way and most importantly, they can become a trusted part of your team.

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Semper Fi

Camaron Hillman; Pres / CEO Devil Dog Concepts 

Devil Dog Concepts

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