How do you protect your invention, design or trade mark?

Having to watch your competitor copying the product or process you invented? Finding your trade mark being imitated? Costly situations like that can be prevented. National and international legislation enable inventors to prohibit others to benefit from their innovation. However, in order to rely on these laws, you have to apply for a patent or register a design or trade mark. In determining whether protection is available for your company and what kind of protection works best, the advice of a patent attorney might be crucial.

  • Patent law - protect your product or process
    You can apply for a patent for technical innovations: new and improved (uses of) products or production processes. If you do obtain patent protection, you can prohibit others from copying, selling or importing your invention without your permission, even if they are able to prove that they made the same invention themselves (at a later time). As a patent holder, you can also grant licences to others, which is another way of gaining revenues from your invention. The protection lasts for a maximum of 20 years. After that period, your invention can be used freely by others. You can only obtain patent protection for an invention that is novel, inventive and industrially applicable.
  • Design law - protect the way your product looks
    If you provide products with a new characteristic look, you can have a drawing or design of those products registered. In that way, you have the means to prevent counterfeiting and imitation for a maximum of 25 years. A registered design is also effective to prevent others to make small changes to the original and present it as a new design.
  • Trade mark law - protect your brand name or logo
    By having your word mark, device mark, 3-D mark, colour mark or sound mark registered, you can prevent others from using it. In that way, you can distinguish yourself from your competitors, without any restrictions in time.

The patent attorney helps

Are you considering protecting your invention, design or trade mark? It takes quite a lot to accomplish this successfully and efficiently. We therefore recommend that you seek professional advice from a patent attorney. He or she can answer questions like:

  • What kind of protection suits my product/company best?
  • Are the costs of protection counterbalanced by its benefits?
  • What patent strategy is most profitable for my company?
  • When do I have to apply for a patent?
  • In which countries should I have my invention protected?
  • I only want to prevent others from claiming this idea. Should I publish rather than patent it?

The patent attorney’s advice will prevent you from spending a lot of time and money on applications that are unlikely to succeed or would serve no purpose. If the protection of your invention or trade mark is indeed advisable, cost-effective and feasible, the patent attorney will ensure that the application meets all the applicable requirements and that the procedure runs smoothly.  He can also assist in cases of infringement, often in cooperation with a lawyer. Finally, the patent attorney can also verify whether your competitors’ applications, patents, and trade mark and design registrations are valid. In that way, you will not find yourself inadvertently infringing other parties’ rights. This too can save you a lot of money!

→ Read more about what a patent attorney can do for you

It is very easy to kill an inventor’s enthusiasm. An inventor is proud and wishes to shout his story from the rooftops.  The last thing he wants is having to wait for a patent. As a patent attorney, you sometimes may have to say to your client: just go ahead and publish it.