Frequently Asked Questions
- What is a patent?
- Where do I apply for a patent?
- What are the requirements to apply for a patent?
- Why Patent Protection?
- What are some tips to help protect my patent?
- Why should I obtain a patent licensing agreement?
- Can you patent a website?
- How do I protect my website IP?
- What is a patent troll?
- What is the cause and prevalence of patent trolling?
- How do you combat patent trolling?
When an individual, group of people or corporation invent something, they would typically apply for the right or title to their idea so that no one else can use the idea for their gain. A patent is a legal right that is granted a by a government or group of governments to the inventors to give them protection from other parties’ use of the developer’s ideas.
Each country has an agency or government department that is responsible for patent the request. Due to the cooperation on intellectual property rights by many countries, one need not apply for a patent in every country as a patent applied for, for example, in the US automatically covers many jurisdictions in Asia, Europe, and the Pacific. To apply for a patent in the US, an application has to be filed at the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO). The applicant has to pay the relevant filing fees.
An application has to contain the following information:
- Names of all inventors and their residences
- Correspondence details e.g. address, email, and telephone number.
- The title and a brief summary of the patent
- A detailed description of the idea or invention including any drawings of the invention
Patent protection can catalyze unparalleled business success by actualizing an edge over competitors. It will prevent latecomers from gaining ground, and copycats from reaping harvests where they never sowed. It enforces a warning to all market players regarding the perils of infringement but most of all; it activates an enterprise’s chances of becoming a market leader..
Patent protection can be the very crux of an enterprise, and in such a case, it should seamlessly align with the cumulative purposes of the firm. Business goals should be properly clarified based on the destination in which the management seeks to steer the establishment. The role of patent protection should be highlighted to arrive at the importance with which it should be treated.
A patent licensing agreement is a guarantee that an inventor will get to receive a return on the investment made since it dictates the revenue sharing systems and the extent of exploitation of a patent. With a patent licensing agreement, an inventor can easily protect and control manufacturing by offering specific partners the rights to produce the products.
A website is a conglomerate of different cogs with particular functions that come together to give useful output to the end user. There is the content, design aspects, the code that does the crunching and even the user’s computer. This multifaceted nature makes it impossible to patent an entire site, but as can be deduced, it is quite possible to patent individual components.
Sadly, it is not possible to comprehensively patent a website. However, there are aspects of the site you can adequately protect to keep your brainchild from ravenous competitors. A patent is only issuable if an object or idea fulfills 3 conditions. First, it must be non-obvious: it cannot be something that someone can easily figure out as a logical step to a process. Then, it must be new – meaning that it has to be a brand-new invention that has never seen the light of day. Finally, it has to be useful by addressing genuine real life problems or by offering a better way of achieving something.
The word patent troll is used to describe corporations or individuals that misuse patents as a business strategy. It gets the patents being sold at auctions by bankrupt entities that try to liquidate their assets or by carrying out enough research as proof that they had the idea first. The trolls can file lawsuits against infringing companies or just hold the patent without trying to practice the idea or innovation to keep their firm’s productivity at a standstill.
Patent trolling has traditionally been more prevalent in the US than in Europe. The difference in the levels of trolling between the US and Europe is primarily due to the different legal systems.. In Europe, the legal system requires the loser to pay for all the legal costs incurred in the suit. Until 2014, in the US, each party was responsible for paying its own legal costs. The potentially high cost in Europe was thus a key deterrent to potential companies that engage in patent trolling.
To combat the trolls, the License on Transfer (LoT) network was established to pool patents which would be cross-licensed in the event of a triggering event. A triggering event could arise, for example, if a patent falls to an entity that is not in the LoT network or when a LoT member either became a patent troll or was absorbed by one.