In the first part of this article – “Keeping under the radar and safeguarding your ideas”, we looked at how best to keep your information confidential before you are ready to launch your idea. Let’s now look at strategies you can adopt when filing for IP protection.
Apply for IP protection early
As alluded to in the first part of the article, one of the requirements for obtaining a valid patent is novelty at the time of filing the application. Therefore, when it comes to patenting, it is better not to wait too long before filing a patent application.
The best thing to do would be to speak to your patent and/or trademark attorney early in the development process about how and when best to protect your idea. Remember, IP protection can be applied for whilst you are still finalising your product and before the final design is completed. A patent application is published by the Patent Office typically 18 months from date of filing, meaning you can work “under the radar” in that period of time if you so wish.
If for any reason you do not wish to proceed with the patent application, you can request abandoning of the application to prevent publication of the application. This prevents the media from potentially getting hold of details about your idea and publicises it before you are ready to launch your product, or a competitor from discovering your latest development. However, seek advice from your patent attorney early to ensure the request is sent to the Patent Office in good time prior to completion of preparation of publication. Once the old application has been abandoned, a new patent application can then be filed as and when you are ready and the process to publication can start again.
If you are applying for a design application in the UK or the Europe Union, which tends to be registered and published in a matter of days or weeks, you can request deferred publication or registration if you need more time to develop your product before it becomes public. A UK and European community design application can be deferred for up to 12 months and 30 months respectively.
Tips for IP applications
The last point worth noting is that you do not have to wait until your IP applications are granted before disclosing your idea or product to the world, you can do so as soon as applications are filed and are pending. However, if there are aspects of your idea or product not covered by the IP applications, consult your patent or trademark attorneys before disclosing those aspects to the public as further applications may be necessary.