How can I patent an idea and keep it from the public while I am still trying to find capital for my business? What could I do to protect my ideas while I’m in school?
– Tiana Holmes
You have to actually apply for patent protection. Once you’ve successfully filed for a patent, or completed a provisional patent application, you are protected as the “first to file” to some degree. Then you have to successfully complete the patent process, which takes time. Theoretically, your “invention” is protected from being exploited by anyone else during this process. The provisional patent application only gives you a year before you have to file for a patent.
While you own the patent, you are still protected, even if you haven’t released the product to the public yet. Eventually your patent protection will expire if all maintenance fees aren’t paid, and eventually it will expire no matter what.
However, this is what patent trolls do. They file for, or purchase, lots of patents and sue people later for violating them. It’s ugly, but usually legal.
Attorney Joe Escalante answers your legal questions for free on our Facebook page every Tuesday and Friday at 10 a.m. PT.