How to Patent, Patent an Idea, Intellectual Property, Business Patent Ideas
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Do you know How to Patent? What is a Patent or how to Patent an Idea?
Business Patent is a right granted for any device, substance, method or process
which is new, inventive and useful. A Business Patent is legally enforceable
and gives the owner the exclusive right to commercially exploit the invention for
the life of the Business Patent.
A Business Patent can be granted to someone who has created something that is inventive, new and useful. Essentially a patent is an exchange; the patent holder is granted a monopoly which allows them to stop others from making, using or selling their idea or invention. In return, their 'idea' and how to create or replicate it is published in patent databases.
This article relates primarily to the patent for an invention, although so-called petty patents and utility models may also be granted for inventions.
Searching for Business Patent or How to Patent, you are obviously using a Business Accounting Software of some kind for your business. But is it performing well for you? If you are not satisfied with your Business Accounting Software performance and functionality, check out our website, our ShopMate Business Accounting Software just may do the job for your business.
You may also brush up and read on Accountancy Theories...
Consider the issues in this article when you're thinking about your Business Patent.
When prospective customers had a business or had it on their mind, traditionally, Softhard Solutions was able to provide them with accounting software (often also hardware) to run their business the way they do the business.
There were, at many times, Softhard Solutions' customers who did not quite have a clear picture of their business patent or what it exactly may be. This page is dedicated to such people. Its all tips and 'need to know' about a Business Patent and what to do before a beginning.
A Patent Definition is a set of exclusive rights granted by a state to an inventor or his assignee for a fixed period of time in exchange for a disclosure of an invention.
The procedure for granting patents, the requirements placed on the patentee and the extent of the exclusive rights vary widely between countries according to national laws and international agreements. Typically, however, a patent application must include one or more claims defining the invention which must be new, inventive, and useful or industrially applicable.
The exclusive right granted to a patentee in most countries is the right to prevent or exclude others from making, using, selling, offering to sell or importing the invention.
A Business Patent is a right granted for any device, substance, method or process, which is new, inventive and useful.
A Business Patent is legally enforceable and gives the owner the exclusive right to commercially exploit the invention for the life of the patent. You have to apply for a patent in order to protect your invention, as it isn't automatically protected. All applications for patents are examined to ensure they meet the necessary legal requirements for granting a patent.
There is also the option of applying for an innovation patent. An innovation patent is generally granted within one month and can give you legal ownership over your inventions.
In Patent Definition, the term "patent" usually refers to a right granted
to anyone who invents or discovers any new and useful process, machine, article
of manufacture, or composition of matter, or any new and useful improvement thereof.
The additional qualification "utility patents" is used in countries such as the United States to distinguish them from other types of patents but should not be confused with utility models granted by other countries. Examples of particular species of patents for inventions include biological patents, business method patents, chemical patents and software patents.
Some other types of Intellectual Property rights are referred to as "patents" in some jurisdictions: industrial design rights are called "design patents" in some jurisdictions (they protect the visual design of objects that are not purely utilitarian), plant breeders' rights are sometimes called "plant patents", and utility models or Gebrauchsmuster are sometimes called "petty patents".
This page relates primarily to the patent for an invention, although so-called petty patents and utility models may also be granted for inventions. Land grants were sometimes called "letters patent", which was a government notice to the public of a grant of an exclusive right to ownership and possession.
Patent and Intellectual Property (IP)
A Business Patent can be granted to someone who has created something that
is inventive, new and useful. Essentially a patent is an exchange; the patent holder
is granted a monopoly which allows them to stop others from making, using or selling
their idea or invention. In return, their 'idea' and how to create or replicate
it is published in patent databases.
A Business Patent can protect inventions and innovations such as machines, industrial processes, pharmaceuticals and their productive methods, computer hardware and software, toys, electrical appliances, plants and other biological/biotech products and processes, even some business methods—in short, almost anything commercially useful. Patents can give you protection, subject to the payment of annual fees, for either eight or twenty years, depending on the type of patent granted.
The cost of patenting will vary on such things as the type of patent being granted and the number of countries in which you intend to register your patent. You should speak to IP Australia, a patent attorney or an IP lawyer to get a better idea of the costs involved in patenting your invention. You should be aware that there is no such thing as a world patent. For more information on seeking patent protection overseas, visit www.ipaustralia.gov.au.
You cannot patent artistic creations, principles, theories, mathematical models or any purely mental processes with no tangible commercial application.
An important point to remember about patents is that generally the invention must not be disclosed before an application has been filed because it will otherwise not be considered new. However, a number of countries, including Australia, provide a grace period so that in certain circumstances accidental public disclosure of an invention will not affect the validity of a subsequent patent application.
In Australia a complete application must be filed within 12 months of the disclosure but in other countries the time allowed and other conditions may be different. Visit www.ipaustralia.gov.au for a comprehensive explanation of the grace period. See the IP and Profiting from Your New Idea section for more information on patents.
Design registration protects the appearance or 'look' of manufactured products. Providing the design has a new and distinctive appearance, i.e. has a special shape, configuration, pattern or ornamentation, then it can be registered. A design which has been examined and certified gives you a legally enforceable right to use your product's design to gain a marketing edge and prevent others from using the design without your permission.
You should not publicly disclose your design before seeking registration. If you are considering applying for a trade mark that features your design you should consider applying for the design before making a trade mark application.
An alternate option to design registration is to publish your design. Publication will fully disclose the design to the public and consequently prohibit someone else registering your design. However you should be aware that publication will not give any rights to stop others from imitating or copying your design.
Searching - Intellectual Property information at your fingertips
It has been noted earlier that in some instances, searching can be complex and it
is likely that you will be basing significant commercial decisions on the results
(and the interpretation of the results) of your search.
Records of all registered Australian patents, trade marks, designs and plant breeder's rights are kept on searchable databases on IP Australia's website. These databases contain a wealth of information to help you make an informed decision regarding Intellectual Property rights.
Searching Intellectual Property registers, databases and relevant publications, also known as searching the 'prior art', is an extremely useful and important step in developing your IP strategy. Prior art includes all publicly available information in the form of patent records, industry magazines, journals, the Internet and relevant published papers.
If your invention is already described in a document published anywhere in the world you cannot get a valid patent. However, there are some limitations to searching 'prior art'.
Some key benefits to searching are:
- Searching can help you to avoid infringing others' Intellectual Property
- It can assist you to determine whether your proposed trade mark is unique or your
invention is original
- It can help you obtain technical know-how and monitor competitors' activities
- At the very least, a thorough search can help you evaluate your own ideas and provide you with a more advanced starting point for research or for seeking professional advice
For more information on the benefits and limitations of conducting an Intellectual Property search, see www.ipaustralia.gov.au.
You can complete some types of patent, trade mark, design and plant breeder's rights
searches at an IP Australia office in your state, or at www.ipaustralia.gov.au. You can search these databases free
However, depending upon the complexity of the particular type of Intellectual Property you are seeking to use and protect, it is a good idea to consider using a commercial search company, or patent and trade mark attorney to conduct a thorough search and analysis for you.
For international patent and trade mark databases and searching firms, please refer to the relevant links on the IP Australia website.
Protecting Unregistered Intellectual Property (IP)
Aside from patents, trade marks and designs there are a number of other Intellectual
Property rights that exist without the need for formal registration. Copyright
and confidential information is discussed in this section.
However, the law of passing off and the Trade Practices Act 1974 also offer businesses some protection against exploitation from competitors.
Copyright in a work allows the owner to exclusively control and exploit the
use of that work. Copyright covers books, art, music and sound recordings,
photographs, software, databases, films and print, radio and television ads and
other promotional materials.
Copyright protects the expression of, and not the substance of, a work. For example, the actual text of a manual is covered, but not the ideas conveyed. Copyright does not protect manufactured articles.
In Australia , copyright exists automatically when something is written down or recorded. There is no formal registration requirement to obtain copyright in Australia. It is a good idea to put the letter c in a circle at the end of the work, followed by the year, for example © John Howard 2002 to ensure that others know that copyright in the work is claimed by the author.
There have been a number of changes to copyright legislation due to the implementation
of the Australia-United States Free Trade Agreement. The most significant change
is the extension of the term of protection for most copyright material by 20 years,
from 50 to 70 years from the date of the author's death.
For more information about copyright in Australia, visit the Attorney-General's Department website at www.ag.gov.au or the Copyright Council's website at www.copyright.org.au.
Confidential Information and Trade Secrets
Your business has information that would lose its value if it were obtained by your
competitors. For example, this could include trade secrets, product manufacturing
specifications, business and marketing plans, client lists and data.
You can obtain relief in the courts for damage caused to your business by unauthorized disclosure or exploitation of this confidential information, and/or an injunction to prevent such a 'breach of confidence'.
Trade secrets are particularly important IP assets. The main benefit of trade secrecy
is that it can exist for as long as the information remains confidential, whereas
patents and designs have a limited monopoly term. Even if the subject matter of
a trade secret is patentable, simply keeping a trade secret confidential can sometimes
be a better strategy.
The owners of the Coca-Cola soft drink formula certainly think so. Had they patented their mixture, the whole world would now know the process and be able to manufacture the same substance. This type of strategy is only worthwhile if the product is difficult to reverse engineer (which means that it is difficult to ascertain exactly how it is manufactured).
Where confidential information must be disclosed, use confidentiality agreements.
These are essentially agreements between a person possessing confidential information
and the person to whom that confidential information will be disclosed, which outlines
the conditions of the disclosure.
A lawyer can work with you to draw up a confidentiality agreement and it's wise to seek help where the issue is one involving substantial value or potential loss. Alternatively you can use the confidentiality agreement generated by an IP lawyer that you can fill in and use during discussions with potential partners and financial backers. Before using it however, you must determine whether the agreement is appropriate for your particular circumstances. If in doubt, consult a lawyer.
Employees and confidential information
Employees can leave knowing a lot about your business-which could affect your competitive edge if they move to a competitor or start up a competing business. Essentially employees can legally leave with what they have learned as part of their general work skills, but should not be leaving with employer-specific information. It is worth seeking advice about this issue if you employ a number of people who have exposure to the confidential information in your organization.
Confidential materials should be marked with a confidentiality legend e.g. CONFIDENTIAL,
and kept under lock and key. Employees and others needing access to the information
should be made aware of their obligations to keep it secret, preferably by written
There can be a fine line between an employee's general knowledge-which he or she can use freely-and knowledge that belongs to the business-which the employee can be required to protect even after leaving the business. Legal advice should be sought on suitable confidentiality policies for your business situation.
How do you ensure confidentiality?
You can take steps to make sure what you want kept under wraps stays that way by:
- Identifying information to be protected.
- Identifying key people who need to be made aware of your confidential information
and restrict disclosure of the information only to those persons.
- Marking commercially important material with COMMERCIAL IN CONFIDENCE in
big letters on the document, file or storage box.
- Restricting employee access to critically sensitive information.
- Using document shredders or locked bins for disposal.
- Insisting that employees who have access to such information sign confidentiality
- Insisting that all parties or contractors performing outsourced services sign confidentiality agreements to ensure your information is kept secret.
Some tips on how to avoid business failure:
- Don't underestimate the capital you need to start up the business.
- Understand and keep control of your finances - income earned is not the same as
cash in hand.
- More volume does not automatically mean more profit - you need to get your pricing
- Make sure you have good software for your business, software that provides you with a good reporting picture of all aspects of your business operations.
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