While designing a logo or coming up with a slogan or a patent for a new company may seem like a simple thing to do when you are first dreaming up your business model, intellectual property has the potential to become one of the most valuable things you will ever own; in fact, this is one of the biggest reasons you should have a skilled business attorney working with you in founding your company, as well as someone who is experienced enough to guide you in intellectual property matters — especially patents, which can be more complicated (and most would probably agree that the items being patented are more complicated to create too).
Although copyright law, trademarks, service marks, and more can be complicated, patents really can be complex to apply for and it is in your best interest to have legal help for the application process with the United States Patent and Trade Office (USPTO). The process may be costly and can take some time. While it may seem inconvenient to have to wait so long for a patent to be approved, it is a comprehensive process on the part of the USPTO, with utility patents usually taking longer than design patents; in fact, they could stretch out even beyond five years from the date of application. A design patent usually takes around 18 months on average.
In working with an attorney, it may take up to several weeks just to have the application completed correctly. Keep in mind that while you are waiting for approval from the USPTO, the status on your invention will be ‘patent pending,’ and you can begin (or continue) making, selling, and even licensing your invention. You may also be able to pay for prioritized examination of your patent, but these slots are limited, coveted, and expensive.
The bottom line is, no matter how you go about the process, your intellectual property should be as protected as possible. For most items though, it becomes your intellectual property as soon as you create it. The only difference is that if you have not registered for something specific like a patent for an invention, it could be stolen by another interested (and greedy!) party, and you could have to fight to prohibit them from using your design. If you have protected your intellectual property with the proper applications and registration, you have a much better chance of winning in court.
The Bolender Law Firm can assist you in all intellectual property matters. Call us at 310-320-0725 now or submit an easy consultation request online. We are here to help!