Have you ever wondered at what point you should contact a patent lawyer to learn about your rights? Here are 5 examples of when you should contact a patent lawyer to protect yourself, your business or your products.
1. Protecting an invention from your competitors
When you’ve created something unique to your market, you’ll want to provide the right protections to your product and yourself to ensure it’s not stolen and marketed against your own invention. A patent provides those protections because it gives you the right to prohibit others from making, using, or selling your invention. When you invent something new and unique, you don’t want to hesitate to contact a patent lawyer and establish these protections.
2. Protecting a product design from ‘copycats’
If your product features a unique or innovative design, your product design may be eligible for a design patent. These design patents are an underutilized way to build intellectual property rights in your product design.
3. Someone else tells you about their patent
If someone else goes out of their way to tell you about their patent, you need to contact a patent lawyer. We won’t dive into obvious cases where someone sues you for infringing on patent copyright, but if someone sends you a cease and desist letter after they tell you about their patent and instructs you to stop doing what you’re doing – or – someone sends you a letter informing you of their patent and offers you the option to license the patent, you need to contact a patent lawyer. In both cases, the person with the patent is trying to put you on notice of their patent right. When someone goes through the effort of bringing their patent to your attention, you should be talking to a patent lawyer about your rights.
4. When you’re entering into a transaction that deals with patent rights
Another time you should call a patent lawyer early in the process is when you’re about to embark on a transaction that involves patent rights in some way. Whether you’re buying or selling a patent portfolio, licensing a patent portfolio or technology, or you could be buying or selling a company that owns patents or patent rights. In each of these cases, you need to figure out who actually owns the patents. Does the party that thinks they own the patents actually have all the patent rights?
5. When research and development was made in part by another party
If you realize that your research and development depends on contributions from people other than yourself. Many companies or owners think that something invented under their company automatically belongs to them, but this isn’t always the case. Just because they’re your employee does not necessarily mean that you own all the patent rights you think you do. A patent lawyer can help you document your ownership from all the different people that have contributed to the inventions you are relying on in your business.