Getting protection through a patent can be an important part of business, but that doesn’t mean they’re invincible.
The US Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) can give patents, and with proper reason, they can also take patents away. One of the most common reasons your patent could be on the line is when your innovation turns out to be neither novel nor inventive.
A claim is considered patentable until an examiner decides otherwise. This could be because it’s obvious there’s a precedent, or they find proof that your process already exists. The proof can fall under prior art, which is documentation that matches your application.
Someone could present prior art to the USPTO, leading the office to examine a patent you already hold. That could take several different forms:
- Printed documents like magazines or newspapers
- Websites or YouTube videos
- Demonstrations at trade shows
These can all fall under prior art and could put your patent in jeopardy down the line. The best way to ensure ongoing success is to establish the uniqueness of your idea and quickly handle any intellectual property turmoil that might arise.
- Patent search: Thorough preparation can ward off trouble in the future. That can start with making sure there aren’t any conflicts by comparing it to innovations already out in the public eye.
- Examiners: A patent application isn’t an open-and-shut case. You’ll likely have to work with examiners and provide reasoning for why a questioned patent has merit.
- Post-approval: Handling the maintenance that comes with a patent can be daunting but essential for protecting your work. This can include a solid defense when someone challenges your patent.
Proving your patent is unique and keeping it in place isn’t always an easy ask. It can require experienced help every step of the way.