This Tip of the Week goes back to a LinkedIn post by John Rizvy.
It is so important to know the myths about patents because this knowledge will open up opportunities when you talk with others about our profession. You can prepare yourself in advance for debunking these myths and you can even prepare your own online articles about these topics and recommend them to others. That will increase your credibility.
People who hear you talking will remember you and later recommend you to their friends if they hear the same myths from them.
Here comes John´s original article:
There are quite a few myths about patents that are not going away easy.
My point is that each situation needs to be evaluated carefully and these blanket always/never type absolute statements that inventors might read about are misleading.
Some examples of the types of dangerously wrong information I continue to stumble across online include:
1) Talk of a “poor man’s patent” where you mail a description of your invention to yourself;
2) Any talk pushing protecting software with a COPYRIGHT instead of a patent;
3) Any suggestion that a prototype MUST BE made prior to filing a patent;
4) Blanket suggestion that software CANNOT be patented;
5) Any discussions that suggest a “quick and dirty” provisional patent filing provides protection for an idea. The application must meet all of the requirements of a non-provisional patent except the claims in order to afford protection.
6) Any suggestion that an NDA is an “alternative” to filing a patent or that the “NDA” will prevent others from stealing your idea. The NDA or Non-Disclosure Agreement is a CONTRACT that is ONLY enforceable against the parties that have signed. If you reveal your idea to an investor or prototype manufacturer under an NDA and they “leak” your idea to a 3rd party, you have no protection. I have a short 2 minute video explaining this risk in this short video:
7) Any suggestion that keeping a laboratory notebook or documenting the conception date of your invention will beat out someone that files the patent first. This MYTH is prevalent because, until 2013, it was true because the U.S. was on a “first to invent” system but in 2013 the U.S. switched to a strict “first to file” system.
There are a bunch more misconceptions but the above are the most common that immediately come to mind.
If you stumble across any discussions in online inventor groups where someone mentions patenting myths that are obviously wrong (I list a few below), please direct them to my free Inventor’s Mastermind forum:
This group is where I, and an entire supportive inventor community, bust patent myths.
This article has been published first here
Updates as they come in on the LinkedIn version of this article:
For example, a former legislative consultant describing patents as state mandated permits to practice the disclosed invention (it’s a NEGATIVE right, dummy, not a POSITIVE one) or a privacy advocate arguing that patents stifle innovation while relying on Gillette’s enormous portfolio going back to their first commercial razor which, if anything, demonstrates the exact opposite.