Do I Need A Patent Before I Submit Invention Ideas
Posted on February 25, 2010 by Jamie Slaughter, with 11470 views
Any invention idea protected by an invention patent offers the owner of the patent definitive rights. Those ideas not protected by a patent, or unfeasible as a patent, can be used freely by anyone, which subsequently can drive down the commercial value of the idea. Patenting invention ideas is of the utmost importance in ensuring that your idea is protected and belongs explicitly to you.
Submitting invention ideas to large companies can contain complex legal issues, such as joint ventures, and exactly who has the rights to what, in terms of trade secret ownership and confidentiality. Patent lawyers can assist you in identifying these areas and making the correct decision regarding patenting your invention idea.
Many patent lawyers would recommend that you obtain an invention patent before contacting companies in a bid to sell your idea. Whilst the idea is not patented, the company are under no obligation to keep the idea secret, and are also under no obligation to not begin using your idea without your consent. Therefore, it is important to obtain an invention patent for your idea before approaching companies.
Companies do exist which review your invention idea under full confidentiality, and will not disclose or act upon any idea, providing the patent application process has begun and is in motion. Plaid is an example of one such company, where the only people who will know about the idea are the Plaid employees who participate in the idea submission briefing.
Sears, on the other hand, is a company which accepts invention ideas which have yet to be entered into the patent application process. Sears does not however commit to confidentiality of the idea, as a company like Sears may require to send your idea to third parties and manufacturers to investigate the strength of the idea. This is an important issue to consider when submitting an idea. You can specify an amount of time, such as 45 to 60 days, for the submission to be properly evaluated.
Another crucial point is to establish contact with the company you are submitting your invention idea to, before sending off descriptions, and/or any materials relating to the idea. Learn the company's submission rules and guidelines, and always keep in mind that before a contract is signed, the only rights over the submission remain solely with you.