How does a patent work? Most people have a vague idea about what patents are and how they function, but there are many myths circulating around that can give people the wrong idea. A patent attorney, such as from Hamilton IP Law PC, is often required to make sure that the patent process goes smoothly and that everything is as it should be, as patent law can be quite complex.
1. You Can Patent Something by Mailing It to Yourself
Those who cannot afford a patent are often advised to simply mail their idea to themselves and to avoid opening the package. It's reasoned that this would be proof enough that the idea came from you. While this could be used as evidence in court, it still may not prove without a doubt that you had the idea first—and it still won't be a proper patent even if it does. Only a patent is able to patent something; there are no workarounds.
2. Patents Can Be More Trouble Than They're Worth
Some business owners are advised not to get a patent at all because getting a patent may lead to them being sued. The theory goes that getting a patent will catch the attention of larger companies with similar products and those companies will then turn around and sue. In truth, a patent that is so similar to another product as to be problematic would not go through to begin with. The point of a patent is to patent an idea that has not yet been patented.
3. Provisional Patents Are All You Need to Get Started
A provisional patent is like a temporary patent. It begins the process of getting a patent but it cannot be substituted for a patent. This is because a provisional patent does not need to meet any particular requirements; anyone can get a provisional patent. A company cannot tell if their actual patent will go through by looking at their provisional patent.
4. Patents Do Not Extend to Other Countries
Patents need to be filed with different countries on a case by case basis. A single patent in one country does not protect your idea from reproduction in another area. In fact, there are many companies that make money by taking patents from one country to another.
Still confused about patents? If you want to patent something, you should consult with a patent attorney as soon as possible. Patents are serious issues, and if they are not filed correctly, you could run into significant problems.