Entrepreneurs should know that the best way to protect their big ideas is by filing Provisional Patent Applications (PPAs). A recent article at entrepreneur.com titled “5 Steps to Safeguard Your Product From Patent Theft” illustrates how inventors may use PPAs to build an impenetrable wall of protection around their big idea.
1. Find all the ideas similar to yours. Develop a list of keywords related to your idea and use USPTO.gov to uncover similar patents and determine the claims made in them. Find the points of difference in your idea. Consider hiring a professional patent researcher.
2. Figure out how similar products are being sold. Next, figure out how those ideas have been implemented in the marketplace. Look at products being sold right now and take note of features and benefits, manufacturing methods and packaging.
3. Identify ways to differentiate your idea. Your idea is already the best it can be, right? Although difficult, consider the ways it could be altered. Perhaps it could be made of a different material, or a different size or shape? How could it be manufactured using a different process? If you consult industry experts, make sure they sign a non-disclosure agreement, and that you have your PPAs already filed.
4. Research how customers feel about similar products. Improve your design by incorporating criticisms of existing similar products.
5. File a provisional patent application on what you find. One way to keep others from working around your idea is to beat them to it and cut them off at the pass by including all the ways to manufacture your idea and the many ways people might use it. Being thorough and filing PPAs can be a warning sign that says you’re serious about protection.
Read the full post here.
In May, Entrepreneur.com ran an article titled, “How to Protect Your Business Idea without a Patent”. Read the full post here.
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