As an attorney or solicitor, you understand that there is such thing as intellectual property – and you understand that an original idea can potentially translate into a lot of money or a lot of social connections. It’s not just about the possible gains; it’s about the rights of those who have created something new.
Unfortunately, it is often difficult to explain to a creative mind that his or her inventions or innovations need to be protected by law so as to make sure no other people or corporations can take advantage of one person’s cerebral product. Yet it’s necessary, more so now than ever. Are you a patent attorney? Here’s what your clients need to know about patents.
What’s a patent?
A patent is nothing but the proper documentation – government registered – of an idea or new product (innovation or invention). This documentation is very important; it ensures that nobody else can lay claim to the same idea, even if they claim they have thought of it first. What’s more, it allows them to own the intellectual rights and ensures they can challenge anyone who uses that idea, invention, or innovation without proper permission. It’s a way of ensuring that they are able to profit from their ideas, or that nobody else will profit from ideas without their explicit approval.
What are the rights?
The patent will ensure the legal rights of:
Ownership of the idea, product, plan, concept, or procedure for a limited amount of time
The right to sell, rent out, or otherwise deal with the ownership of that patent
Expand one’s market and eliminate competition by proclaiming ownership
Where does the patent apply?
Patents apply to a specific territory – hence, if you apply for a patent in the UK, chances are it will only apply to the UK. However, it is possible to apply for patents in multiple territories (such as the EU and others) to ensure that the patent is enforced in several areas of interest. You can also make the process go easier by taking advantage of patent application software, where you can file everything online.
Things to consider
The EU is very flexible in its registration, though many fees may apply due to translations and administrative fees. The same goes for the USA and Canada.
The patent will never be a guarantee; there will always be people or corporations who will try to take advantage of what your client has created – and they might find creative ways of using your client’s invention or innovation. But the patent is important because it is a legal way to challenge those who take unfair advantage; it is important because it documents the spirit of the creation, and creates rights for the one who was smart enough to see the future. The patent is important because the law requires proof.