Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Guest Post on the Intersection of Patent Law and Criminal Law: Do you need a patent to protect your design to prevent crime?

If you’re a budding entrepreneur and a bit of a tech whizz, you’ve probably got a number of ideas, designs and concepts under your belt.

Ever wondered whether you should protect these designs and ideas?

A general conversation with friends, an overheard conversation, or just someone who decides they can make some money from your design could easily steal it and pass it off as their own; this is a criminal offence – but only if you have protected your work.

Deciding whether you require a patent for your design ideas can be confusing at the best of times. You’ll probably find that you think you don’t need one; however, if you have a high value for your designs then there shouldn’t be any harm in looking into it, right?

With programs such as Dragon’s Den creating a trend for new design ideas, we have looked at a few of the pro’s and con’s of making a patent application for your ideas and designs to help your decision process.

Pros for Making Patent Applications
  • If you’ve got an idea for a design or invention and want to protect it from being stolen, securing a patent is a must.
  • Provisional patents are perfect for those who are currently developing an idea and want to retain the legal rights to it, and because they are inexpensive, many people do opt to sign up for them.
  • There are many online channels that can be used to help you determine whether your idea is truly original or not, and whether it can therefore be patented.
  • Applying for a patent does not necessarily need to be as complex as you might expect, and many young inventors have applied for provisional patents which have not only protected the ideas that they have been developing but have also enabled them to get to grips with the basics of patenting too – something that should be very helpful to them as their careers progress through time.
  • Do not underestimate how worthy your designs are – if you are considering creating a patent application then the chances are you value your designs enough.
  • People steal ideas everyday and unless you have protection, you do not have a leg to stand on. 

Cons for Making Patent Applications
  • A patent application can be the first step on the road to global success but can also be time consuming and slightly confusing.
  • You need to move quickly!  New ideas are being patented all the time and the sooner you can patent your design the better, before someone else gets there first.
  • Patience can be a virtue when it comes to standard patent applications, and it can take up to a few years before the process is completed.  Nonetheless, the waiting can pay off, and some inventors have found that after initially being refused a patent for 100% of their idea, they were granted a full patent after all later.
  • Needing to put a convincing case forward - ideas and inventions have to be truly unique if they are to be granted patents.
  • Financial backing may be required.  A vast number of inventors have secured backing from wealth sources in the past, and if your idea really is truly unique and useful, there is always a chance that you will be able to benefit from support from a backer.  The more a backer is likely to be rewarded in the long run, the more likely they are to put their money behind your idea – you can expect them to demand a generous cut of any future earnings from your idea however.
  • A case against Patent Infringement can often be timely – patience is the name of the game.

Criminal law can support you and your business if your designs are stolen and used to bring in money for anyone else other than your business without your permission.

Finding support from a Patent Attorney can help you to weigh up whether your design requires a patent application.  If investors are co-operating or if you cannot cover the full cost of a standard patent with the help that they have offered, you can make up the shortfall with a loan.  This may come in the form of a small business or personal loan.  You’ll obviously need to convince the banking institution that your idea is viable and worth taking a chance on, but once again, this has proven to be a welcome step for many inventors carving out their niche.  If your idea is convincing enough you should find that help is forthcoming, especially with help from an experienced patent attorney.

Written by a Baron Warren Redfern Patent Attorney.  BWR provides experienced patent and trademark attorneys to advise and win cases of patent and trademark infringement.

1 comment:

  1. Valuable post and very well written. thanks for sharing ..