Find the Right Automotive Patent Attorney - The Patent Professor®
Have an idea that will make flying cars viable? Let our team guide you through the tricky process of applying for automotive patents.
Protect Your Idea with an Automotive Patent Attorney
Did you know that Toyota has the most automotive patents? In 2018 alone, they obtained 2,554 patents, more than any of the other auto companies!
Here’s why this statistic matters: As an individual or small business, you might be full of innovative ideas to improve transportation. Whether you’ve got a model for a flying car or a revolutionary new cup holder, protecting your intellectual property is vital.
The automotive landscape is changing rapidly. Doing research before you begin the patent filing process is crucial because it can save you time and money down the road. An in-depth search of the U.S. patent database will help you discover if implementing your idea would constitute patent infringement.
Why You Should File a Patent for Your Idea
It’s not uncommon for people to think they don’t need a patent for their idea. They believe that getting a patent is expensive or that no one would be interested in their invention. While it’s true that the patent filing process can be costly and time-consuming for some, when you work with The Patent Professor®, you get the support of a Board-certified Intellectual Property specialist for an affordable flat fee.
Protecting your idea or invention doesn’t have to be costly. In fact, it can be more costly if you don’t do it!
Here’s Why You Should Work with a Patent Lawyer to Protect Your Idea:
Why Working with an Automotive Patent Attorney is Essential
When to Consider Licensing Your Idea
Even if you never make or sell the product, owning the patent on it can be a smart way to monetize your ideas by selling or licensing them to another company.
In the automotive industry, we work with several clients that have the sole aim of licensing their ideas. It makes sense when you think about how massive the car industry is and how quickly technology is changing. Your idea could be incredible, but you might not have the capital, infrastructure, or business experience to move forward with it.
However, a company like Tesla or Ford could be chomping at the bit for your invention, and they might be willing to pay handsomely for it.
Are Cars Patented?
The first U.S. automobile patent was granted in 1895 to the inventor, George Selden.
Selden was both a patent lawyer and an inventor. His invention was an “improved road engine,” attributed to a smaller and lighter version of George Brayton’s internal combustion engine. Selden’s version used liquid hydrocarbon compressed at high temperatures as a fuel source.
Selden’s patent process took 16 years to complete because he continued to amend it. Not only did his patent application include a design for an improved engine, but it also outlined the design of a four-wheeled automobile.
Though Selden was granted the first automobile patent in the U.S., he wasn’t the first globally to be awarded this type of patent. Years earlier, in Germany, engineer Karl Benz had gotten a patent in his country for a three-wheeled automobile, called the Benz Patent-Motorwagen.
A Note about International Patents
The patents filed for automobiles in different countries brings up an important point. A U.S. patent, granted by the USPTO (the United States Patent and Trademark Office), does not give you international protection. In other words, you would have to file a separate patent in each country where you want protection.
If you are looking for international protection, however, the Patent Cooperation Treaty (PCT), which became effective in 1978, makes it possible to protect your invention in multiple countries. By filing a single application, your invention could be protected in 153 countries. Depending on the scope of your idea, filing under the PCT could be the wisest option.
Trends in Automotive Patents
Currently, the buzz around self-driving cars has created something of a patent war. Analysts expect autonomous vehicles to hit the mainstream in about five years. 13 automakers have committed to bringing this technology to dealerships within this timeframe. Even tech giants like Google and Intel are hopping on board.
If you have an idea for anything centered around AI-powered vehicles, including hardware or design ideas to make these cars more comfortable for passengers, now is the time to ensure that idea is protected.
Before you assume your idea has already been thought of, do some research to see if you’re onto something. The Patent Professor® can also help with this process, so don’t hesitate to get in touch if you need guidance in this area.
Why Elon Musk Released Electric Charging Station Patents to the Public
Sometimes, a patent can be made public, allowing others to profit from the idea. In the case of Tesla’s vehicle charging stations, Musk had an ulterior motive. He knew that if other manufacturers could easily make their own charging stations, it would contribute to an increase in demand for electric vehicles.
As demand for gas-powered cars drops, Tesla’s goal is to be at the forefront of the electric vehicle market.
How Patents Differ from Trademarks and Copyright
A patent protects an invention, process, or design from being used by another party, giving the holder exclusive rights to it. Trademarks and copyrights also provide exclusive rights to the owner, but the items protected are different.
Patents vs. Trademarks
A trademark protects brand assets like words, phrases, logos, symbols, etc. The Facebook logo is trademarked, as is the giggle from the Pillsbury Doughboy. McDonald’s “golden arches” are also trademarked.
Protecting a trademark is arguably just as valuable as having patent protection. Having a clever tagline, smart logo, and distinctive marketing tone can be the driving force behind a business’s success.
Patents vs. Copyrights
Copyright protection is meant for published and unpublished original works (like novels, screenplays, articles), as well as music, art, film, software, architecture, and even choreography.
In the automotive industry, copyright is important because brands can have trouble differentiating from each other. If one company develops a clever marketing slogan, strategy, or video ad campaign, they need to be careful to protect the copyright so that other companies can’t duplicate their creative tactics.
Registering a copyright is much less complex than filing for a patent, but it is still important, nonetheless. An IP attorney can assist you in this process.
In some cases, a patent and copyright can overlap. This instance is becoming more common in the modern world. For example, software can be both copyrighted and patented.
Put The Patent Professor®’s Experience to Work
John Rizvi is board-certified in Intellectual Property law, a distinction that is awarded to only a handful of attorneys. With over 20 years of experience, you can count on The Patent Professor® to protect your idea so that it’s guarded like Fort Knox.
Tell us about your invention
Make sure that your idea or invention is protected with a patent. Contact John Rizvi, P.A., aka “The Patent Professor®” today to get started. Give us a call at (877) 728-7763.