Patent lawyers should be an inventor’s close confidant. Having guidance in terms of writing patents, doing the research, and filing is so important, so it should be taken seriously. One of our sponsors helps inventors out of Kansas City with patents and maximizing protection for your product. Chris Debacker of the Law Office of Mark Brown, LLC was at our last event in Washington D.C. as our official patent attorney. Read about what he did in D.C., why he works with start-ups, and how the patent process works.
At the Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History in June, Debacker was present on Friday to help the teams perform basic patent research. The teams needed to research their ideas to ensure they weren’t re-inventing a patented product, and to help determine which ideas might be better from an intellectual property protection standpoint. The teams really benefitted having him there because it is the most important step in the prototyping process during Make48. If an invention already exists, it cannot be patented again.
Make48 isn’t the only start-up Chris Debacker works with. He actually works with many! Debacker explains that he has a high interest in working with them as he likes to help guide them through what intellectual property protection they may need, if any. “I try my best to match up the most protection they can afford while maintaining a healthy budget for pushing the actual products forward.”
When protecting intellectual property, Debacker insists that inventors should speak to an attorney and protect what they can early. He says to “let your attorney know your budget and they can help maximize protection while making sure you are not spending your entire budget on intellectual property protection.” So, where do you start then? According to Debacker, provisional patent applications are excellent places to start. Learning how to properly put your trademark notices on products and literature also is easy and cheaper to learn early rather than late in the process.
After putting starting your provisional patent application, what is next? Within the year under the provisional patent, he would then file a non-provisional patent application as well. That will typically publish 6 months after filing, approximately 18 months after filing of the provisional patent application. Typically, he will hear back from the patent office around that time, but this all depends on the type of invention. Did you know that software provisional patents take a lot longer? For most inventors, they can expect to know something about the status of their patent application within two years of filing the original provisional application, and will typically have a patent in hand within 2 ½ – 3 years from the original filing.
When inventing a product, you must be patient. As you can tell, patenting alone can take at least 3 years! For more information about Chris Debacker and patenting, go to his website. We cannot wait to see him at our next Make48 competition this October!