Competitors can be dangerous to your invention. They create a knock-off version of your product and offer your consumers duplicates at a significantly lower price. Due to the similarity in products, consumers may not be able to discern which product is the original. Incidents like this ultimately lead to a negative business reputation.
To limit competitors, you want to file for a patent so that your invention is protected. If a copycat tries to recreate your product for profit, you can file an infringement rights lawsuit.
Imitators will try to be devious when duplicating your invention, but a patent will stop them from gaining profit from your hard work. There are different types of patents that you can file for to defend your invention against competitors.
A utility patent is one way to defend your invention against competitors. It legally protects the function of inventions like machines, technical devices, or computer software.
When acquiring a utility patent, you first have to have a clear understanding of how your invention works. After meeting the qualifications for a utility patent, you can protect your intellectual property for 20 years and halt competitors from selling, making, and importing your invention. Keep in mind that maintenance fees are necessary to enforce a utility patent.
Unlike utility patents, design patents protect the appearance of an invention. For example, Coca-Cola has a design patent to protect their bottle design. Other
well-known brands have patent designs on items such as furniture, jewelry, and package design. The aesthetic of your invention helps consumers differentiate your brand from other competitors. With a design patent, inventors can request competitors who mimic their invention’s physical feature to stop selling infringing items. When they do not follow through with the request, inventors can take legal actions to protect their idea for 15 years with a design patent.
Once your product starts to succeed, competitors will want to reap the benefits of your success. If your idea is unprotected, it will leave you vulnerable for competitors to steal your invention. That’s why the first-to-file rule is vital when trying to defend your intellectual property against competitors.
Some inventors fear getting their new invention patent because they are still researching and not confident if their idea will thrive in the marketplace. A provisional patent is a solution that will help inventors in the discovery stage. During this time, inventors have a year to research and evolve their product without concerns if competitors will emulate their invention.
Design, utility, and provisional patents are great ways to protect your invention legally. You can not control the actions that competitors take to imitate an invention, but filing for a patent will ensure that you remain the owner of your intellectual property.
To adequately protect your invention from competitors, you should seek counsel from a certified patent attorney. A patent attorney will determine which type of patent will be beneficial for your invention and write a patent that will prevent imitation.