Feature

Tip of the week: How to secure a patent

Five points to keep in mind when trying to obtain a patent

Be the first. Search the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office’s site (Uspto.gov) to make sure an “idea like yours” hasn’t been patented.

Avoid the obvious. Your idea should be a distinctive concept that someone with an “ordinary skill level” couldn’t have created.

Hire a patent draftsman. Even if your invention makes complete sense to you, “at least one drawing” is necessary to meet federal patent requirements.

Hire a lawyer. Having an attorney betters the chances of receiving a patent. But be careful not to hire any “shady” firm that demands a cut of the proceeds.

Be patient. The patent process can take anywhere from “two to five” years. If people infringe on your idea during that time, give them notice and “collect damages” afterward.

Source: Popular Science

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