Today I am talking about patents and registered designs, what are they, And do you need to know about them? A patent is a registered right, that you get for an invention. An invention can be a method or it can be a product. So a new method of extracting gold from rock for example, or a new method of cleaning the air would be an example of a method.
A product could be a new engine for a spaceship, or a car. To obtain a patent, your idea needs to be new. That means nobody else anywhere in the entire world can have come up with this idea, it also needs to be inventive. It can’t be a discovery, so if you discover a new element, then you can’t patent the new element. Patents are for the way things work, either a method or a product, while a registered design, is for the look of a product.
So that could be a pattern, such as the paisley pattern on my shirt, or it could be for the shape of something. For example a new design for a chair, or a car headlight. Again, it also has to be new for you to obtain protection. A lawyer cannot help you with patent protection, you need to see a patent attorney, not a lawyer. Some IP lawyers will get you in and talk to you about patents and designs. They are not qualified to file a patent for you, only a patent attorney can file a patent for you. So it is important to know that distinction.
If you’ve come up with some new, it’s really important not to put it out there. Don’t tell people about it, don’t put it on social media, don’t sell it at a fair, don’t put it in the stores, and Don’t sell it online. Even talking to somebody about financing or creating a prototype, could invalidate your ability to obtain a registered patent, or a valid patent, or a valid design. So the first thing that you need to do is you need to talk to a patent attorney and probably get a nondisclosure agreement in place.
The nondisclosure agreement helps you, because it means that when the person signs it, and they need to sign it before you do the disclosure, they then can’t use that idea for anything else. Then the fact that you told them can’t invalidate your patent or design. But if you’ve got an invention or a design that you wanna be registered, my best advice is talk to a patent attorney and get some information about your particular design. Also understand that if you do obtain a patent, that does not protect you from patent infringement.
So it’s unlike a trademark, if you get a trademark registered, somebody else cannot claim you’re infringing their trademark. Your trademark certificate is a complete defense to trademark infringement. Doesn’t work like that with a patent. If you get a patent registered and somebody else has a patent before you, you could still be infringing that prior patent, so there’s quite a bit to it. Best thing to do is to talk to a patent attorney before you reveal your innovation or your new design. All the best of luck with it.