1. If someone at your company has an idea that may be patentable, act quickly. You can lose rights by disclosing the idea publicly or by offering it for sale before filing for a patent application. This type of disclosure can even occur before you make any engineering drawings or working models.
2. Try to keep records that help establish the novelty of the invention and the date of conception. This evidence may be important at a later date — especially if there is any delay in filing for patent protection.
3. Before you retain a patent attorney, bone up on the subject — Read the book Patents and How to Get One. It is very short and is a great book to read on your next business trip.
4. Retain a patent attorney to discuss your issues, to help you decide whether to file any patent applications, and then to help with the preparation and prosecution of the patent applications. Even if you are only filing a single patent application, the relationship with your patent attorney will likely last many years. Thus, it is important to find a patent attorney and law firm that you can trust and that are comfortable with. Get references.
5. When thinking about your potential inventions, remember that you can obtain patents on devices as well as methods. Methods, for example, may include methods of manufacturing an item, methods of doing business, methods of using a device, and process flow methods that describe the flow of data in a piece of software. (Merely a few examples.)
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