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Legal strategies for preventing patent infringement

A patent is the most important accessory to an invention. It will outline everything about your creation and provide evidence of its originality, which will be your only weapon to defend your idea should someone try to claim it as their own.

While you can get patents without an attorney, a patent law attorney can be very helpful from the very start of the process. An attorney can make sure that your patent is enforceable by law, and as terms of patent law can change with evolving technology, a lawyer will be better able to keep up with the changes and relay them to your case. Learn what is involved in obtaining and defending a patent, and why legal expertise will play a crucial role from the very beginning.

Patent Law

Three criteria apply to an invention that can be patented—it must be new, useful and not obvious to those that are familiar with the related area. These terms are somewhat subjective, especially what specifically constitutes "obvious," and it can be difficult to refine an idea enough to comply. The patent application procedure can also be incredibly involved, requiring precise documents and a thorough search of existing patents. As with copyrights and trademarks, your creative and financial control will rest on the quality, evidence and thoroughness of your patent.

The Patent Process

The first focus of patent law is the process involved with applying for and granting a patent. Applying for a patent at a patent and trademark office requires some time and effort, as it will involve elaborately worded documents to form the basis of your contract. Every single word on your application has impact, and extremely precise language is the only way to ensure that your idea won't be twisted into another "original" invention. Some inventions also require detailed drawings, and there are no fill-in forms to use. Unless you have gone through it before—and even if you have—a patent lawyer will be of enormous assistance in the application process, through the patent pending period and after the patent has been granted.

The second area of patent law is the enforcement of existing patents. Patent infringement is serious, but proving it can be difficult, so prevention will be your best course. Patent lawyers will be able to guide you in the organization of your business in order to defend against larger corporations that may try to infringe on your patent with the help of expensive litigation. Patent litigation can be a very difficult process, and if you must go to court, you will want a knowledgeable and familiar attorney on your side who understands your specific patent.

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