5 Tips on Patents

Tips to read before obtaining a patent.

1. If your company has an invention that you think is patentable, take steps at once. You may lose your right to patent it if you offer it for sale or disclose it publicly without patent protection.

2. Make sure your product or invention is not infringing on someone else’s patent. Your library can help you conduct a patents search.

3. Be prepared to establish the novelty of your idea. Keep good records of its development—including dates, drawings, etc.—and round up witnesses.

4. Hire a patent attorney or agent. Look in the Yellow Pages under “Patent Attorneys.” Get references.

5. Consider patenting your method of doing business. According to Success magazine, Amazon.com owns the patent on the one-click shopping-cart strategy and successfully defended it in court against Barnes & Noble.