It’s tough in this economy to justify spending money on anything but the essentials. If you’re out of work, there is no telling when you will find your next job or how long your savings will last. If you’re working, there is no guarantee that you will still have your job 6 months from now. But what if you have an invention? Should you just wait until the economic outlook is all clear before moving forward to protect your invention with a patent?
Filing a patent application can be expensive. Patent attorneys can charge $8,000 or more just to file a patent application. Even less expensive patent attorneys typically charge $4,000 or more just to file a patent application.
But what if you don’t file a patent application for your invention? By the time the economy turns around and you decide to apply for a patent for your invention, it may be too late.
First, there are bar dates in the United States which prevent you from applying for a patent application if you have publicly disclosed or publicly used, sold or offered for sale, or published your invention more than one year before filing a patent application. Most foreign countries have even stricter standards, barring you from applying for a patent at all if you have publicly disclosed your invention prior to filing a patent application.
Your impulse reaction might be to just keep your invention secret. But what if someone else comes up with your idea? The United States is still a first-to-invent scenario under the U.S. Patent Laws. That means even if someone else files a patent application before you for the same invention, you may still be declared the inventor if you can document an earlier date of invention. But this only goes so far.
If someone else comes up with your idea and publicly discloses your invention, for example by selling the product on the Internet, more than one year before you file your patent application, then the bar dates will prevent you from receiving patent protection for your invention. In other words, your patent application will be rejected.
The longer you wait to file a patent application for your invention, the higher risk you run that you will not be able to get a patent issued for your invention. It’s best to talk to a patent attorney as soon as possible.
Trenner Law Firm offers low, flat-fee pricing for most patent services. Visit Trenner Law Firm today to learn more and find a patent attorney to help you!