IP Today March 2013–
Everyone hopes to be the next great Thomas Edison or Alexander Graham Bell. However, things today are very different from when Edison and Bell created their masterpieces. The rules and game has changed over the years.
In today’s world, as an inventor you have to protect your idea and make sure no one “steals” it. That process begins with obtaining a patent. From concept, to design, to implementation, obtaining a patent is no easy feat. There is a lot of paperwork to be filled out and sorted through, and it is easy to make mistakes. On March 11th and 12th Scottsdale attorney Barbara Luther traveled to the Nation’s Capital with one of her clients to help make that dream a reality. Luther was in Washington, DC to present patent paperwork in person.
“Patent acquisition does not have to be hard,” said Barbara Luther. “Over the years I have gotten to know the process inside and out and have worked hard to expedite client patent applications.”
This visit to Washington, DC came just as laws regarding patent acquisition changed. On March 16th the process transitioned from a “first-to-invent rule” to a “first to file.” This means, you will no longer be able to test your invention in the marketplace in the year leading up to filing for a patent. For big businesses, this will not affect them because they have the means in place to test a product in house. However, for small companies and at home inventors this change means they will not be able to publicly promote and obtain outside capital for development.
In 2012, more than 550,000 people filed patent applications. On average, approximately 48% of earlier applicants received patents. With the new rules in place, individuals and small companies will file fewer patent applications, therefore services and products will not be protected and imitators will race to sell a cheaper imitation and steal the market need created by the smaller companies. The “first-to-file” system is not in place to be discouraging; imitators can be slowed or stopped with patents and other intellectual property protection. Because of the new rules, having a patent attorney by your side is more important than ever, increasing odds to be granted a provisional patent.