Invent, protect, and implement - Your Guide in the IP Jungle
Inventing is not a one-way street, but an iterative process. Correction loops are important and the implementation of these loops is a prerequisite for a successful product. The better patent is obtained by those who do a profound research. We provide valuable information on the state of the art, competitors and blocking intellectual property rights.
Bluepatent is at your side from product development to market maturity.
Development of a creative idea - with the help of the TRIZ method
Successful inventing can be learned! There is a systematic approach by which inventions are truly innovative on the one hand and are led to success on the other hand. The TRIZ method for solving inventive problems was developed in Russia in the 1950s. The letters TRIZ are the Russian short form of "Theory of Inventive Problem Solving".
The founders of TRIZ, G. Altschuller and R. Shapiro, developed generally valid "innovative principles" and "laws of invention" on the basis of reviewing and evaluating a large number of patent specifications and analyzing their economic success.
There are three essential regularities:
- The majority of inventions are based on a relatively small number of solution principles
- Overcoming contradictions is the basis of every invention
- The development of technical systems follows certain patterns and laws
This systematizes inventing and allows innovative problems to be solved more quickly.
Competition research and patent research - how to use the knowledge of others for your own invention
Often, several inventors work almost simultaneously on finding a solution to the same problem. Before you invest time and money in something that someone else has already solved in a very similar way, you had better research which patents already exist in your field. Such a search for foreign property rights is always advisable:
- During the invention, to serve as inspiration
- Before filing the patent application in order to ensure novelty
- Before the market launch of a product (Freedom to Operate)
- For competition monitoring after the introduction of one´s own product
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If you are satisfied with your invention, you should file the patent application. The patent application requires that the invention works, but you do not have to submit a prototype. Your invention must meet these criteria in order to be recognized as a patent:
- Novelty (worldwide)
- Inventive step (must not be obvious from the state of the art)
- Technicality (only technical inventions can be patented, business ideas or software only in certain cases)
- Industrial applicability (usually no major hurdle)
Patent applications are subject to fees. Therefore, it makes sense to initially file only one application for Germany with the German Patent and Trade Mark Office (DPMA). For twelve months you have the opportunity to file a subsequent application for your invention throughout Europe or worldwide on the German filing date.
If you want to market your invention in your own company, you may already have thought about the name of your future trademark. Renowned brands are recognized all over the world. This makes it all the more important to protect them from confusion and imitation as intellectual property and industrial property rights. The trademark can be composed of words, letters, numbers, colors or illustrations. You can protect a logo, the name and even an advertising slogan.
Tip: Have a trademark search carried out before you register your own trademark. This will prevent you from infringing other people's rights and paying double registration fees yourself.
Even in technology, it is not only the content that counts but also the appearance. The design of packaging and products is often an important factor. Within the EU there is automatically design protection for three years. If the design is so unique, original and inseparable from the product that you do not want it to be copied, it can be registered as a "design patent" and protected for up to 25 years. This can be country-specific or Europe-wide.
Tip: Don't just register a single design, but several or a complete product portfolio to make circumvention more difficult. In addition, you also have the trademark and the invention protected as a patent or utility model.
Every invention begins with an idea, - which is followed by the development of prototypes.
If the product of your invention is original and very useful and you want to market it, you must create a prototype for it without delay. Today's 3D printing technologies, so-called rapid prototyping, make it possible to produce individual pieces very quickly. There are different processes with different materials. Design errors can be detected and corrected on the prototype. The disadvantage is that the application of new technologies also costs money. However, a functioning prototype is very convincing when you are looking for an investor.
An important asset of a company when looking for investors is its intellectual property portfolio .
Whereas in the past the means of production were a company's most important asset, today, in an information and knowledge society, intellectual property (IP) is becoming increasingly important for any company. For this reason, patents, trademarks and designs play a particularly important role in the valuation of a company, e.g. in the context of financing or in the search for investors. Often, rather then holding just one intellectual property right, a portfolio of intellectual property rights plus freedom to operate is required in the context of a due diligence analysis.
Tip: First test your pitch on a person from whom you can expect honest feedback before pitching it in front of a potential investor for the first time.
Now that your invention is patented, - what next? After investing time and money in your development, you understandably want it to pay off for you at some point. You have three possibilities to exploit your patent:
- Market your patent as a product in your own company, although this is sometimes neither possible nor economical
- Allow other companies to use your patent for a royalty
- Sell the patent completely
Tip: Think about the exploitation already at the development stage and keep the benefit of the patent. This makes selling or licensing easier