Protecting Your Idea with a Patent.


A patent protects the development of new machines or mechanical devices. In essence, it allows the innovative company the right to make, use, and sell their invention, while at the same time, prohibits other companies from such activities. An idea or a principle cannot be patented. In other words, the invention must be an actual object invented and not just an idea for inventing the object. For example, the inventors of the Digital Video Recorder would have had to develop a finished unit before it could have obtained a patent. Therefore, it's advised that each inventor undertake a preliminary search in their local patent office in order to make sure their invention is indeed their own idea and not already patented by someone else. There is no need to waste your time and money if the new machine or mechanical device has already been invented and patented.

Once the preliminary search is completed, you will fill out a formal application along with a written petition asking the "Commissioner of Patents" to grant you a patent. You will be required to pay a fee and submit a petition, an abstract, a specification, a claim, and applicable drawings illustrating your invention. For specifications relating to your particular invention, we advise you to contact the patent office (see below for address and telephone number).

Usually eight months after your filing date, your application will be made public so that others can learn of your invention and its advancement in technology and knowledge, for instance. This does not give othera the right to make, use, or sell your invention, but rather it allows society the right to learn from it.

The useful life of a registered patent is 17 years. At the end of the 17th year, the company holding the patent can still produce and sell the protected product, however other companies will also be eligible to make, use, or sell it.

For additional information on patents and trademarks, call the phone number below. You will be prompted by a menu driven recording that provides basic and more advanced information on these items. Here are the addresses and telephone numbers for the US and Canadian Patent and Trademark Offices.

Related Web Links include:  1) Additional Info on Patents and   2) Canadian Patent Database


US Patent and Trademark Office:

Patent and Trademark Office
U.S. Department of Commerce
Washington, D.C. 20231
Telephone:(703) 308- 4357


Canadian Patent and Trademark Office:

Patent and Trademark Office
Canadian Intellectual Property Office
Industry Canada
50 Victoria Street
Place du Portage, Phase 1
Hull, Quebec, K1A 0C9
Telephone:(819) 997-1936

Categories: General