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Privacy Policy

  • AVID Labs values its customers and respects their privacy. The following discloses our information gathering and dissemination practices for this website.

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    A patent helps give you protection for your idea. Patent Law is highly specialized. We recommend using a patent attorney for counsul and to ensure your documents are properly prepared. The following is some general information to help you get acquainted with the process. The law in the US is changing, so again, please consult a patent attorney for more detailed information.

    Provisional Patents

    The US is a "first to invent" country as opposed to a "first to file" when it comes to patent protection (this may be changing in the near future). That means whoever invented it first gets priority. But how do you increase the evidence that you had the idea first? That's where a patent filing comes in.

    A provisional patent allows you to register your idea with the patent office. Details within your provisional application are not reviewed for merit by the office. A provisional patent is simply a description of your idea with words and illustrations. The provisional patent allows you to use the term "Patent Pending" and helps you discuss your idea with others while knowing that the patent office has a record that you had the idea by the date you filed.

    A provisional patent should include as much information about the idea as possible. Alternatives should be included as well. Think of all the different ways to make your idea and include those. That way, you have the benefit of the provisional filing date to use in your non-provisional application. New ideas not included in the provisional patent may not be allowed in a subsequent non-provisional application.

    A provisional application gives the inventor one year from the filing date to convert the provisional patent into a full non-provisional patent for Patent Office review. You can always file a non-provisional patent after one year, but the benefit of the provisional filing date is lost. To take advantage of the provisional date, plan on converting it with a patent attorney within nine months of the filing date at the most.

    Design Patents

    People sometimes resort to a design patent when a utility patent cannot be attained. But their real benefit comes in securing the rights to a shape or unique design. A great example is the Billy Bob Baby Pacifier, which is a normal baby pacifier, only it has simulated buck teeth on the outside. Another good use is when you invest in a unique product design for a common item. You want to protect that shape so your competition doesn't come out with one that looks pretty much the same.

    Design patents are great for securing the shape of an item. They can be subjective and depending on who is reviewing it, a small detail may render a new design different from what is protected in a design patent; but they do help to deter imitations of your design.

    Utility Patents

    Utility patents protect the function of something or the method of creating something. These provide broader protection than a design patent and generally can be applied to a larger variety of products.

    The approach here is to patent as much as possible. These are summarized in the "claims" of the patent. Think of all the ways your invention can be used. Think of all the ways the invention can be made. If you have an idea related to irrigation sprinklers, consider it's use for fire sprinklers as well. Cast as broad a net as possible. The patent office will tell you if they feel it is not patentable.

    A patent gives you the protection of your idea, but it may not give you the right to make it.

    You may have a great idea that's patentable, but it may rely on another patent. So although your idea is protected, you may be infringing on another's patent by using it. It's important to consider all the angles when obtaining patent protection.