In this article, we’re going to discuss the tricky aspect of marketing strategy when filing a patent.
Under normal circumstances, obtaining a patent is not an easy process. Under US law, a company or individual is entitled to a patent if the invention has not been marketed in the country for more than one year prior to the filing date of the patent application. This applies to both sales and sales proposals. Therefore, companies running marketing campaigns must be careful not to infringe on their patent rights. In an ideal world, a patent application should be filed prior to sales. But then it will hurt the bottom line of the company, because it will ultimately put a stop to profit making. In a competitive market, this can be disastrous for the company.
Therefore, it is important for a company to understand what exactly triggers the clock in one year. In other words, what can and what cannot they do to prevent their product from hitting the timer?
To answer this question, we must understand what exactly, according to the law, starts the clock. Basically, there are two conditions. First, the invention must be patentable at the time of sale. If it can be shown that the inventor had enough drawings to enable another person to use the invention, then this would satisfy the first criteria.
The second criterion was that there really was an offer to sell. In other words, the inventor or the company that owns the invention approaches another company and offers to sell the invention to them. This can be either a letter to another company, or a real physical meeting between the two companies. Usually the meeting follows the letter.
In the form of a letter, the owner of the invention usually draws up a letter stating that he has such and such an invention, and further says that, in his opinion, this is something that can improve their business. In the letter, they will describe what the invention does and how it will help them. They then asked the other company to call them back if they were interested.
During the meeting, the inventor will bring the drawings of his invention and present them to the company interested in acquiring the invention. Maybe the inventor even has a working prototype that he can show them. This is always a plus. Companies really enjoy seeing inventions that interest them work.
When the law comes into effect, which is where inventors can delay time, it is that the following elements do not meet two criteria. Requesting pricing information for customers from distributors and sales representatives; publication of preliminary passports and advertising information about the features of the invention; communication with sales representatives; sales representatives provide clients with preliminary passports; sales representatives’ requests for samples from customers.
Therefore, the inventor can do any of the above and NOT trigger the year count. This allows the inventor to complete the same number of preliminary stages of work on his patent, without actually starting the process “technically”.
This is important information for any inventor if he is trying to get as much reason as possible in his search for a patent.