Make Sure You Understand Patent Law

Posted on: 20 February 2014

When you put the time into developing a new idea, it is only fair to get credit for your efforts. Any school child understands this idea. Most if not all students have the experience of working in a group where certain people put out the effort to complete the assignment and others don't. Students who work hard to complete an assignment get resentful when others benefit from their efforts without putting forth efforts of their own. The same is true of inventors. If a person puts time and money into developing a new product and someone else comes in, snatches up the idea, and turns a profit without sharing with the inventor, the inventor can feel like he or she was robbed. Since the time of the Renaissance, patents have existed in one form or another to protect inventors from having someone else snatch up their ideas. Patent laws can change from country to country, but there are some basic steps that an inventor must complete, before he or she can apply for a patent. For starters, an inventor must submit an explanation of his or her idea to a patent office for review. The patent office will review a patent application looking for different features. For example, in the U.S., the person applying for a patent must show that the idea for an invention is not obvious. For example, a person could be proud of having used a strap wrench meant for removing a oil filter to remove the cap to a jar top on a sprinkler valve. If the person were to make minor changes to the design of the strap wrench and apply for a patent to produce the strap wrench as a jar-top remover, the patent office could decide that the idea is too obvious and thus not worthy of a patent. Restrictions on what ideas can merit a patent serve to protect society from attempts to gain exclusive rights for something that anyone could use and/or create on his or her own. A person who holds a patent basically holds the legal right to prevent others from producing his or her design. A person who holds a patent cannot hold the patent in perpetuity. For example, the person who first invented the vacuum cannot transfer the right to produce vacuums to his company or family forever. Such a monopoly could give a person or company unfair control over the mark. A company can hold a patent for a period of twenty years after which other companies can produce their own versions of the original patent. Allowing a person or company to hold exclusive right to produce a product allows the person or company to recover the money spent on research, development, and production as well as to make a profit. If you hold a patent and suspect that someone else might be violating your patent, you should take your case to a lawyer for review and legal advice. A patent attorney will know what constitutes a violation of patent law and how to proceed against those who violate patent laws. Companies and individuals have the right to make a profit off of their inventions and products. It is easy to grasp the idea that the person who comes up with an idea deserves to benefit from the ideas, but patent law can be tricky. Lawyers have to study for years before they understand the law, and it takes even longer to understand how to handle patent law cases. If you need help with an issue that pertains to patent law, you should trust a patent lawyer to help you. Share