Recently Mark Trenner, an experienced Denver patent attorney, was interviewed on the radio. Here is a transcript of the article. It has some very valuable information about patent law and is great information for inventors…
This is part one of 10…
There are a lot of individuals who want to be entrepreneurs and start their own business. What do you suggest be the first step?
Even in today’s economy, and maybe because of today’s economy, there seem to be more people than ever who want to start their own business. Of course, the first step is to clearly define what the business is going to sell. What is the product going to look like today? And where do you plan to take the product lineup in the future?
That’s not an easy question to answer. But it is absolutely critical if your business is going to succeed.
Once you have that clear picture of your product, what’s next?
Protect your product. If your product is unique, file a patent application to protect your invention. If there’s nothing new about your product, for example if you want to open a coffee shop, then file a trademark application to protect your brand.
What is the difference between a patent, a trademark, and a copyright?
The one thing these all have in common is that patents, trademarks, and copyrights protect intellectual property. But they each protect different kinds of intellectual property. Copyrights protect original works of authorship including literary, dramatic, musical, and artistic works, such as books, movies, songs, and even computer software. Trademarks protect word and design logos – or “brands”. And patents protect inventions.
The patent process sounds complicated, where does an inventor go to learn more?
There is a lot of information available on the Internet. But be careful. There is a lot of mis-information, and there are a lot of people trying to sell you services that you don’t need. For a basic understanding of patents and the patenting process, start with the US Patent Office website. There is a lot of reliable information at www.uspto.gov.
I also post informative articles that you can read for free [on this site]
But quite honestly, there is more information on the US Patent Office website than most people can digest. And if you aren’t careful, you can actually end up losing important rights to your invention.
What are some of the risks of filing a patent application by yourself?
The patent application process is complicated. In order to be registered with the US Patent Office, you first need a college degree in a technical field like engineering. Then you have to pass an exam. People spend months studying to pass the exam, and some people don’t pass. There are so many laws, rules, and regulations, and you need a pretty good understanding of all of those in order to pass the patent bar exam.