Did your company create any innovative solutions during the 2020 Covid-19 Pandemic? If yes, then you were not alone. According to U.S. Patent Office statistics the number of U.S. Patent applications that were filed in 2020 was up over 5percent from the year before. Equally important, the number of new U.S. Trademark applications filed were up 9.5 percent from 2019. If your company innovated, and sought to protect your new ideas and brands during the pandemic, then you played a part in fueling the economy with innovation last year. Congratulations!
Intellectual Property is the intersection of engineering and law where patent attorneys identify, secure, and advance the creative works of innovators. The typical intellectual property tools that we have in our tackle box include patents, trademarks, copyrights, trade secrets, and know how. You may ask why would a company want to protect its intellectual property assets? Well, my answer is threefold.
Webinar: Are Your COVID-19 Innovations at Risk?
Manufacturing innovations skyrocketed during 2020 as our nation’s greatest problem solvers worked to tackle the challenges of a global pandemic. While some acted quickly to protect their new intellectual property, too many remain vulnerable to sales disruption from competitors. Learn from the experience of your manufacturing peers in an interactive panel discussion with MMA, noted manufacturing innovators and attorneys from Fishman Stewart.
First, when you secure a patent on your innovative solution to a problem, you are granted a legal monopoly for 20 years. This excludes others from making, using, selling and offering for sale the claimed invention. If you also secured a registered trademark on a logo for that product, then that trademark registration gives you a branding monopoly. This stops others from trading upon your proprietary logo. In short, a monopoly can be that shiny lure in your tacklebox that protects your revenue stream.
Second, once a patent or trademark is secured, your marketing team can proudly proclaim “our product is Patented” and “our brand is Registered.” This is a selling tool that your sales and marketing team can leverage to set your company apart from the competition. It also signals the competition “stay out of my fishing hole — this is my stream.”
Third, by securing your intellectual property you are increasing the value of your company. For example, a patent can be leveraged to protect the revenue stream that it covers. This makes your CFO very happy as they can predict the revenue stream will be protected for the life of the patent. Without patent protection, your savvy competitor may disrupt your sales by copying your product. That means all of the money, time and labor your company invested in developing that new product, just went down the drain.
If you have not yet filed for patent protection on your innovations, then perhaps its not too late. Under U.S. patent law you have one year to get your application on file after you have sold, offered for sale or publicly disclosed your invention. If you find yourself within that one-year window, you still have time to protect your innovations. Who knows, maybe you will be part of the 2021 Patent Office statistics and we will see another record year of protecting innovations and brands!
Fishman Stewart is an MMA Premium Associate Member and has been an MMA member company since February 2021. Visit online: fishstewip.com.
Doug LaLone is an engineer and a registered patent attorney who leads the firm’s Strategic IP practice group. Connect with Doug at fishstewip.com. Fishman Stewart PLLC is an Intellectual Property firm located in Troy, successfully servicing the middle market for the last 25 years.