Invention to Patent: The Pitfalls, Perils and Process

The following was written by Gene Quinn, of IPWatchdog and Practice Center Contributor.

So you have an idea and want to get a patent? There are a number of things that you need to know about the invention and patent process that can help you focus your efforts and know what obstacles lay in front of you.

The first thing to know is that you cannot patent an idea. Many people will have great ideas, but will not be able to put that idea into a package appropriate for a patent because there is no invention, only a concept. To be sure, the idea is the all critical first step in the invention process. After you come up with the idea or concept you now need to put together a game plan on how to carry that idea through. The idea and game plan together form what the law calls conception. Conception is an important concept in patent law because in the United States it is the first person to invent that CAN ultimately receive the exclusive rights on an invention. (more…)

Emotion And Anecdotes Should Not Drive Patent Policy Debate

Written by Gene Quinn (Founder of and Practice Center Contributor)

Emotion and anecdotes unfortunately drive the debate on IP policy, particularly patent policy, because most people are suspicious and predisposed against monopolies. That is certainly understandable, at least in a vacuum. Who among us likes monopolies? Monopolies charge super competitive prices and consumers have no leverage, which leads frequently to inferior goods or services that consumers are forced to accept. This aversion to monopolies has been ingrained in American culture and heritage since the founding of the Nation, and was taken to new extremes during President Theodore Roosevelt’s Administration. Roosevelt stood up for the little guy and became known as a trust buster, what today we might refer to as a monopoly killer.

Unfortunately for those who seek to leverage the appropriate suspicion against monopolies, a patent is not a monopoly. A patent does confer exclusive rights, but as every inventor knows the fact that you have a patent does not guarantee that anyone will be interested in the good or service associated with the patent grant. Without interest there is no market, without a market there can be no monopoly. So patents are not equivalent to creating a monopoly.

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