On May 26, 2016, OCM Manufacturing hosted its quarterly Engineering Mixer. The session’s guest speakers were Jose Santos of 911innovation and Shirlee Biron, co-owner at Equinox patent and trademark agency. They gave an exceptionally informative and engaging session and these are a few of the key take-aways that we captured from the discussion.
- A patent is a contract between an inventor and a government. It will be different for each government/country. A patent is a privilege awarded by a government, protecting a party from others taking over an idea. Therefore, make your patent as broad as possible.
- A trademark is a name associated with a specific product or service. It is completely different from a company name. Just because a company name is registered, that does not guarantee you will be able to use it as a trademark for your products/services.
- If you disclose your idea publicly, you have no right to file for a patent for that idea. Public disclosure includes things like showing it, describing, selling it in public forums. It does not include conversations, tests, etc. carried out under a non-disclosure agreement (NDA) between parties.
- After filing for a patent in one country, you have 1 year to file in other countries claiming the filing date of the first filing as the priority date.
- Today, patents are granted for 2o years, worldwide and across all sectors. (The medical sector is lobbying to have this period lengthened for medical innovations).
- A provisional patent filing allows for changes to made to the idea/design/description. However, changes and additions have no effect on the 1-year period.
- Every patent application must declare at least one inventor (i.e. an individual or individuals). The inventor(s) may sign over the rights of the patent to a company, but they must still be named on the patent application (and any resulting patent).
- It is difficult to patent an algorithm/software. It is preferred that patented software be associated with hardware.
- Before you reverse-engineer a product, have a patent search completed to ensure that the product does not have any active patents.
- China is now the most active country in the world in terms of filing patents.
- Provisional patent: $3,000-$5,000
- Full patent filing: $12,000-$25,000
- Trademark filing: $1750
- Patents and trademarks hold value when speaking to customers, partners, potential investors and buyers. They can also be licensed and sold.
NOTICE: This information should NOT be considered legal advice. OCM Manufacturing does not have expertise in the patent process. We encourage you to contact either of the speakers for more information:
Jose Santos, 911innovation
(519) 505-1899; firstname.lastname@example.org
Shirlee Biron, B.A.A., Equinox
(514) 739-6770; email@example.com