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Intellectual property (IP) protection is an important consideration for any startup, and possibly even more so for hardware startups. Technology and globalization have made it even easier for companies to copy a product or steal an idea altogether.
Patents are a way to not only protect an idea, but to also minimize competition and act as a defense mechanism against infringement claims from others. Having a strong intellectual property strategy or having the patent process started, is a great way to attract or solidify partnerships and funding.
Below are four considerations for your startup’s intellectual property strategy.
Patent rules are strict and adhere to a tight timeline, so it is best to file for patent protection early-on in the development cycle. A provisional patent application is a good “first step” for hardware startups. A provisional application provides the means to establish an early effective filing date in a later filed nonprovisional patent application. It also allows the term “Patent Pending” to be applied in connection with the description of the invention.
It is important to note that a “provisional application for patent has a pendency lasting 12 months from the date the provisional application is filed. The 12-month pendency period cannot be extended. Therefore, an applicant who files a provisional application must file a corresponding nonprovisional application for patent (nonprovisional application) during the 12-month pendency period of the provisional application in order to benefit from the earlier filing of the provisional application (United States Patent and Trademark Office -USPTO).” Once you file a provisional application the countdown clock starts ticking and your next move must be decided within the 12-month period.
In this early period, it is also best to keep quiet about your invention. You want to avoid publicizing your invention. This does not mean that you cannot meet with potential partners or product development firms, but instead that you don’t want to share your idea online or start a crowdfunding campaign just yet.
Many times the invention that you first envisioned, completely transforms during the product development process. This means that your initial patent or patent application may not cover new features that have been added on. This will leave your final product under-protected or not protected at all.
If the product is evolving quickly, consider filing a provisional patent application or a series of provisional patent applications within a year before filing a utility patent application.
While utility patents make up 90% of patents issued, design patents have been steadily on the rise because inventors are realizing that the exterior design and overall aesthetics of the invention can easily be replicated as well. Protecting both the design and functionality of an invention is necessary for long-term success.
According to the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO), “design patents may be granted to anyone who invents a new, original, and ornamental design for an article of manufacture”. In short, this means that design patents cover exactly what is shown in the drawings, nothing more.
Like a utility patent, a design patent also lets you use the phrases patent pending and patent issued on all business-related material. Once you have been granted a design patent, you are then able to secure rights for the next fourteen years. Another important thing to keep in mind is that design patents are relatively cheap to file and maintain, as compared to a utility patent.
A design patent, coupled with a utility patent, offers a range of IP protection on both the inner workings and exterior design of your product.
Patent protection is only one part of your IP strategy. A registered trademark will help protect your brand as well. A trademark is a word, phrase, symbol or design that identifies and distinguishes the source of the goods of one party from another—think along the lines of logo and tagline. A recognizable trademark can be extremely valuable for distinguishing your business from the competition.
Depending on the exact nature of your startup, a licensing agreement, copyright and/or trade secret protection could also be considered during your intellectual property planning and overall strategy. Speaking to a Patent Attorney early-on will let you discuss your options, weigh the benefits and build a custom strategy for your startup.
3D Innovations is a Product Development Company – from the 3D Design to a fully functional 3D Prototype & Product.
Mediabistro Announces Inside 3D Printing Conference and Expo in Hong Kong to Shed Light on the Impacts of 3D Printing Across Industries; Terry Wohlers of Wohlers Associates to Keynote
Mediabistro Inc. and 3DPrintingIndustry.com are hosting Hong Kong’s first significant tradeshow about 3D printing, the Inside 3D Printing Conference and Expo, on August 26 – 27, 2014. With 3D printing rapidly picking up pace in the industry, both in terms of its development and adoption, Mediabistro has invited the brightest and most prominent industry leaders from around the world to converge in Hong Kong to share their views on the future of the technology, as well as strategies to succeed in the upcoming third industrial revolution.
“3D printing was invented quite some time ago, but due to the printers’ limited capabilities and the high costs associated with 3D printing during the technology’s infancy, it wasn’t really adopted or used extensively – until recently,” said Alan M. Meckler, Chairman and CEO of Mediabistro Inc. “Looking at how fast the 3D printing technology is currently developing, I think it’s only a matter of time until 3D printing completely revolutionizes all aspects of manufacturing. Hong Kong, being the gateway city to the world’s capital of manufacturing – China, is one of the most suitable locations for us to host Inside 3D Printing. If anyone wants to ride this upcoming economic boom, this conference and exposition is something not to be missed.”
The two-day event, organized by Mediabistro, consists of 18 seminars covering topics from aerospace, art, and bioprinting to the makers revolution, start-ups of all kinds, and more. Stratasys, the Platinum Sponsor for the event, will be hosting the morning keynote session on August 27. The keynote speakers participating in the conference include Terry Wohlers, Principal Consultant and President, Wohlers Associates, Inc.; Nave Rachman, Technical Director, Stratasys Asia Pacific & Japan; and Michele Marchesan, Chief Opportunity Officer, 3D Systems.
Wohlers will host the opening keynote titled “The Next Frontier in 3D Printing.” Working as a consultant for many corporations in different industries, Wohlers will share his views on where the 3D printing technology is headed based on his extensive experience and professional background.
Rachman’s day 2 morning keynote is titled “Manufactory Application in 3D Printing: Direct
Digital Manufacturing (DDM).” He will explain how traditional manufacturing tools have successfully been replaced by FDM technology. Later in the day, Marchesan will highlight key trends and share advanced manufacturing initiatives during the afternoon keynote titled “Manufacturing the Future.”
In addition to an impressive lineup of speakers, the event will also feature Hong Kong’s largest exhibition related to 3D printing. If your company is interested in sponsoring or exhibiting, contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Interested in attending? Get 10% OFF Gold Passports with discount code 3DINNOV. Register now!
About Mediabistro Inc.
Mediabistro Inc. (OTCQX: MBIS) is a leading Internet media company that provides services for social media, traditional media, and creative professionals. Mediabistro is a leading producer of 3D printing and bitcoin trade shows. Service offerings include an online job board, news and analysis, trade shows and events, online and in-person courses, and research products. Mediabistro is changing its name to MecklerMedia Corporation on August 11, 2014.
All current Mediabistro press releases can be found online at:
For Press Information
Stella Wong – Waggener Edstrom Communications
Tel: +852-2578-2279/ Email: email@example.com
We are having a very busy summer here at 3D Innovations, and we are currently getting ready to help launch a Product Development Lab at the Manoa Innovation Center in Honolulu, Hawaii.
In preparation for the launch we are actively building relationships with local, national and global patent attorneys. We have a number of clients, small businesses and entrepreneurs that are interested in partnering with patent attorneys that handle “hardware” types of patents (i.e. widgets, anything that can be made from plastic, rubber, silicone and metal). If you are a patent attorney with this type of specialization or know a fellow patent attorney please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org. When you contact us we can discuss the Product Development Lab further via e-mail or through a phone conference and see if this partnership would be a good match. We would love to have you as a resource for our entrepreneurs!
Learn more about us and the services we offer by visiting our website! If you have any questions or comments we can be reached by e-mail at email@example.com or by phone at (808) 722-8667.
3D Innovations is a full service 3D Engineering/Design company – from the 3D Design to a fully functional 3D Prototype & Product.