If you’ve developed multiple inventions, you may know the frustration of getting excited about a new idea only to find that someone else had the same idea and pursued it first. For inventors, this can even have legal repercussions. If you release an invention, and someone else has come out with and patented the same invention, they can take legal action against you for the patent infringement.
But how are you supposed to know about every invention that has ever been created? Even without any intention to steal someone else’s intellectual property, you might still stumble into patent infringement if you’re not careful. Here are the steps that you should take to make sure your great new idea hasn’t been patented by someone else already:
Work With Intellectual Property Attorneys on Your Patent
Intellectual property(IP) attorneys are experts when it comes to researching patents and patent applications. If you are interested in patenting your own work or avoiding infringing on other people’s patents, you can schedule a consultation with an attorney at an IP law firm. They can research patents for you and offer you guidance on your next steps in terms of protecting your intellectual property.
Conduct a Patentability Search
Attorneys at an IP law firm can conduct a patentability search for you. This is a search that comes before your first attempt to patent your invention, and it basically determines whether or not something too similar has already been patented. Once the search is concluded, your attorney will provide you with a written opinion. If there is something out there that’s already patented, you can make the adjustments you need or go back to the drawing board, then come back when you’re ready to patent again. If not, you can proceed with your patent application.
Conduct an Infringement Search
If you are concerned that your invention may infringe the patent rights of another, the intellectual property attorneys can conduct an infringement search and prepare a written clearance opinion. Infringement is a separate consideration from patentability. Infringement searches are larger in scope than patentability searches and the written clearance opinions are more detailed than patentability opinions. For that reason, infringement analysis is typically more costly than patentability analysis. However, reducing the probability of infringement prior to commencing manufacturing can be extremely valuable.
Apply for a Patent
If you’re overwhelmed by the thought of applying for a patent, don’t worry! An Attorney at an IP law firm can take care of it all for you. We can file your patent application and maintain legal records of the entire process, and keep you promptly informed on all filings. We also make sure to fully inform you of all developments throughout the progress. No matter what stage you’re in for your invention and patenting process, Garcia-Zamor can help. Contact us today to learn more or to schedule your first appointment.