Sunday, September 14

Intellectual Property - How Patents Work

Keep original ideas protected!

There's a odd little feature with this blog I didn't realise for a long time, you can find out where traffic is coming from. This is handy because it shows search terms used to arrive here, and so helps me choose topics and fine tune content.

The most obvious searches are "fitness technology", "motivational workout", "physical activity in school", "desk exercise" and all the other topics I have covered with Gamercize. There was one search that caught my eye: "gamercize patent find". While I have mentioned patents before I have not given anyone any tips from my experiences.

Gamercize is protected by international patents and registered trademarks. Here is the first tip - if you have a great idea, only tell one person - a patent attorney. Your patent application may fail if you let the whole world know before you application has been accepted, as the idea is no longer unique, but now in the public domain.

The second tip - Never try to navigate the patent "world" yourself, there are about 4-5 stages (all requiring cash!) and any slight problem is best dealt with by your attorney, who will speak the same language as the officials. In any case the patent attorney will draft your patent to best protect your idea, being unambiguous and giving the maximum defence for your property and hard work.

My next advice is only to patent design concepts - as done with Gamercize. To patent a specific product is a waste of money. No one will make an exactly copy of your product, unless done fraudulently, which will no doubt also breach your registered trademarks. When you have your cast iron application come back as a searched and granted patent there is one very important thing to do next.

My last and best tip - Insure your patent. You wouldn't take the ownership papers of a house and then not insure that house - the same is true for patents. Now you have the intellectual property proven, you should seek to have it enforceable by a insurance policy from a reputable company. Now, if there is an infringement on your patent - you don't have to worry about finding money to take the case to court. Most policies run to hundreds of thousands in cover, so you don't have to be concerned about a big corporation taking your ideas.

Be careful, get advice from professionals, and your patents will be protecting your property - at a price!


Stephen Yang. said...

Thanks for your sage advice and words of wisdom. What is the approximate price of doing all the steps with a patent lawyer and getting insurance?

gamercize @ said...

Hi Stephen,

The patent lawyer doesn't add much to the cost of the process, in the US you'll need about $6-9,000 for the end-to-end patent process (and about a year) with the same again for the annual insurance. Are there ideas coming out of SUNY Cortland? Don't tell anyone until you have told your patent lawyer!!!