Ideas are often what drive businesses. The best inventions are often so good that what once seemed remarkable becomes mundane and people wonder how they lived their lives without them. Sadly in some cases the people who created those inventions do not profit from their legacy. This is why it is important to know when to hire an intellectual property lawyer.
One of the best ways of doing this is to file a patent. This is a legal document designed to prevent companies from making, using, selling, offering to sell or importing your product without your express permission. Making sure this is filed properly can help prevent any potential legal disputes over ownership of an invention or concept. Patents can be for specific countries or territories or in some cases all over the world, depending on what you can afford and what is legally possible.
What is sometimes overlooked is not just the product itself but also any additions that you may want to make in future. For example there are coffee machines that use pods of coffee instead of paper filters or built in filters. You may put a patent on using coffee pods but not hot chocolate or green tea. Therefore this would mean that a rival manufacturer could produce hot chocolate or green tea pods suitable for your machine, thus depriving you of potential income. This is why it is a good idea to look at all the potential benefits and spin offs from your invention or idea.
Reverse engineering is when a company takes your product apart in order to study it. They look at how it is put together and in some cases improve upon it or incorporate aspects of your design into their own. Preventing this can help stop companies from gaining an unfair advantage.
As well as the property itself it is also possible to apply for patents for any surrounding inventions associated with your concept. This means that other companies will not be able to create spin offs using your product and help make sure that your idea is not exploited. For example say you invented the game of soccer. As well as patenting the idea of playing a game where you hit a ball with your feet, you may want to patent the boots, gloves, nets and so forth, all of which you could potentially profit from. While this is an extreme example it is designed to illustrate why you need to consider the full implications of an idea and what protection your legal representative might suggest.
An intellectual property lawyer handles this and many other aspects of litigation in this field. This includes trademark, copyright, trade secrets, false advertising and reverse engineering. All of these can potentially apply to your product or concept so it is important to keep your idea protected.
Effectively then the best time to consult a specialist representative is during the early idea or prototype phase of your product or concept. A lot of legal companies offer free initial consultations. This is often a sign that they are confident in the service that they can offer you as well as a good way to get a range of opinions.
In short knowing when to hire an intellectual property lawyer can help protect your ideas and make sure that you can get the most from your efforts. As with any legal representation it is worth doing a background check and getting feedback on the firms in your local area, as well as keeping up to date on property law. With the right representation and a dedicated approach you will get the most from your innovations.
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