Patenting inventions can be a valuable way for business owners to control the use of their invention and make money. However, complications in the application and use process can create some problems that business owners who are not familiar with intellectual property laws struggle to resolve.
For instance, you might have a patent, but did you know you could lose your rights?
Ways to lose patent rights
One of the ways you could lose your patent rights is the discovery of prior art. Prior art is evidence that your invention was already known. Evidence could include anything from plans to an actual product. Depending on who discovers prior art and when the person discovered it, you could face legal obstacles to protecting your patent.
Failing to maintain your patent can also result in loss. Maintaining a patent involves paying maintenance fees and updating information like entity statuses as needed. If you do not complete these tasks, your rights may no longer be enforceable.
Selling your product or publicly disclosing it before you secure a patent can also compromise your rights to a patent. In the U.S., inventors have 12 months after making a product available for sale to apply for a patent. If you do not file within this time, you can lose patent rights.
Ensuring continued patent rights
Getting a patent is a critical step in protecting inventions. However, it is not the only thing you must do. Regularly reviewing your patents and staying up-to-date on prior art and maintenance can allow you to enjoy the continued rights afforded by a patent.
If you find yourself facing challenges to an existing patent, it would be wise to act as soon as possible to examine your legal options. You might consult an attorney or look for guidance on the United States Patent and Trademark Office or WIPO websites. Failing to act quickly could significantly affect the remedies that may be available.