I get calls from entrepreneurs all the time who want to know if they can patent their invention.
And in true patent lawyer fashion my answer is: well it depends… on the answer to this one simple question.
Have you sold or publicly disclosed your invention? If yes, did you do so over one year ago?
Patents are based on a deal you make with the government. In exchange for you coming up with an invention and publishing how to make and use your invention, the government will grant you the exclusive right to make, use, sell, offer for sale, or import your invention into the country.
But if you have already sold your invention or publicly disclosed how to make and use your invention, then why would the government grant you a patent? The public already has the benefit of your invention.
Most countries will not grant you a patent on an invention that you have already published or sold. However, as with the metric system, the U.S. does things a bit differently. You may still be able to file a patent application to protect your invention up to 1 year after selling or publicly disclosing it.
After that, all you can do is patent improvements on your invention.
Do you have a date that you plan to disclose or start selling your invention? Then that is the latest date you would want to file a patent application. I suggest reaching out to a patent attorney about 2-3 months before that date.
Before you tell it, before you sell it, call a patent attorney and see if it makes sense for you to patent it.
Are you in a hurry to start selling?
Call us at 832-621-0353 and let’s see if we can help you protect your profit margins.