When it comes to protecting intellectual property, patents are a critical part of that process. Unfortunately, there are many misconceptions about patents and their enforcement. This misinformation can lead to costly mistakes.
There are several things that you should understand about the truth behind patents.
Myth 1: you only need a patent if your invention is groundbreaking
You might have heard that patents are only relevant for monumental discoveries. The truth is that patents protect any novel, non-obvious and useful inventions, even if they are not revolutionary. In fact, you can even file patents for improvements on existing inventions rather than entirely new creations. This dispels the myth that patents are only for game-changers and highlights the diverse scope of innovation that the patent system accommodates.
Myth 2: patents offer an endless monopoly
Another common misconception is the idea that obtaining a patent provides the patentholder with a monopoly. The truth is that a patent is not a finding of perpetual exclusivity. Patents have a limited duration, which is typically 20 years from the filing date. At the end of the patent period, the invention enters the public domain.
Myth 3: patents guarantee automatic enforcement
When you secure a patent, you have a responsibility to enforce that exclusive right. That process requires active diligence and participation on your part. Be attentive to any potential encroachments on your patent protections and exert your rights under the patent laws, up to and including litigation when necessary.
The more you understand about the facts behind patent laws, the easier it is to protect your intellectual property. The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office received 646,855 patent applications in fiscal year 2022 (October 1, 2021 – September 30, 2022). Join those who actively protect their inventions by filing for patent protection on your designs.