Did you happen to have a “light bulb” moment where an idea to create something new just popped up in your mind? Before you begin on your quest to make your idea come to fruition, it is in your best interest to know more about patents particularly if this is your first time inventing a product.
Enforcement of a patent can only be done once a patent is issued for a particular individual or organization.
When you see a “Patent Pending” mark on a particular product, it only serves as a warning to potential interested individuals that a patent may be issued to the applicant in the future. It does not guarantee you that the idea will not be “stolen” by another person or company.
Filing for a provisional patent for your product gives you the right to mark it with “Patent Pending”. If your patent application is still in the works and a year has already passed, you can proceed with filing for a non-provisional patent.
Patent claims can either be specific or broad depending on how you want your invention’s patent to be enforced. These claims include important and specific details that you are claiming to be uniquely available with your invention.
Keep in mind that specific claims are easier to obtain compared to broad claims. On the other hand, specific claims can be more open to challenges by other inventors compared to broad claims.
As I’ve mentioned, getting a “Patent Pending” applied to your invention does not always guarantee that another person won’t steal your idea. This also holds true even after you have already been awarded a patent for your invention.
There have been instances where a patent has already been issued but another individual or company challenged the patent holder by bringing him or her to court. This is where you will learn just how good your patent is…when you win the litigation.
In some cases, another patent can be filed over an already existing patent. This happens if another person or company makes use of the basic invention and they add in one or two features that may or may not be useful to the end user.
Alternatively, your invention just might be an improvement for an already existing product. You can still file for a patent to prevent others from using your improvement on the product, however, you do not have any rights to the already existing patent.
Despite all of this, you should never be discouraged when it comes to inventing something new. Go ahead, create your idea and file a patent as soon as possible.