Always remember that your invention is "one-of-a-kind" and that several steps need to be taken to ensure that this invention remains yours until you say otherwise.
The first patent issued to CompuServe, one of the first online companies.
Many types of inventions that involve the use of computers are protectable under U.S. patent laws.
- Consult a patent attorney as soon as practicable upon invention conception in light of the shift to the "first-inventor-to-file" system that now prevails under the America Invents Act (AIA).
- Maintain an inventor's log book, using dates, recording persons to whom aspects of the invention may have been disclosed, and obtaining witness signatures from time to time.
- When a patent has been obtained, always list the patent number on the product or packaging for the product.
- When interested in foreign patent rights, always file the U.S. patent application prior to disclosing the invention to the public. Public disclosure of an invention includes such things as publishing articles about the invention, exhibiting the invention at a trade show, and offering to sell the invention.
- Patent software in addition to copyrighting it.
- Inform your patent attorney of any prior art references that relate to the invention that you are attempting to patent.
- Offer your patent attorney a complete description of your invention including sketches, drawings, diagrams, pictures, schematics, etc.
- Consider the broadest words to describe your invention and assist your patent attorney by sharing your thoughts on how to claim the invention.
- Monitor your competitors' patents.
- Monitor the market place for your products to make sure no one is infringing any of your patents.
- Remember that your patents can help you defend against a patent infringement claim made by another, as well as provide you with an exclusive opportunity in your own market.