What makes a business successful? There are a lot of potentially correct answers, but one important aspect is the ability to provide something to customers that your competitors cannot. This is often achieved through research and development. Once a business creates something new, they are often in a position to protect through innovation through the patent process. Successfully patenting an innovation gives a business the ability to exclusively make, use, sell, and license their technologies to others. This can create a huge advantage for a fledgling business.
Identify Patentable Inventions
Your inventions and discoveries may provide value to your company. Maintaining good records can be beneficial when determining what should be protected by a patent. Consider and write down the following information:
- Describe what the invention is, how it operates, and the various elements that are required
- The benefits of the invention over other technologies
- Information that can be publicized (and the dates this occurs if a patent application has not already been filed)
- Information that should remain confidential
Once you have identified patentable inventions, you can determine whether or not the potential patent will add value to your business. If it will, consider filing a patent application. If it won't, it may not be worth filing a patent application.
Create a Non-Disclosure Agreement (NDA)
Non-disclosure agreements are a good starting point for protecting an invention before a patent application is filed. Anyone, including employees, potential investors, business owners, etc., with access to proprietary information should sign a non-disclosure agreement. By signing an NDA, the parties agree not to disclose any information regarding inventions or other proprietary information, and if they do, they can face consequences for doing so. The best way to protect your proprietary information is to ensure that only those people who need the information have access to it and filing appropriate intellectual property protections as needed.
File for Patent Cooperation Treaty (PCT)
PCT applications are not for every business. PCT applications are generally misdescribed as world wide patents. In reality, PCT applications are a procedural option that allow for additional time in filing patent applications in member states. If you know that you only intend to operate in Canada and the United States, for example, then a PCT application is likely not worth the cost. However, if you are still completing market research and making decisions about which countries to file in, the extra time granted by a PCT application can be valuable.
Apply for Protecting Potential Upgradation
Technology tends to change and improve over time. When a technology outstrips the existing intellectual property protections, filing new patent applications to cover these improvements can become important.
Reach Out Now
Trademarks Patents Lawyers provide genuine advice and guidance to new businesses Starting a new business can be challenging and it is often at the beginning where intellectual property protections are ignored, often to the detriment of the business. For assistance in protecting your intellectual property, contact us.