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What might a surfboard, bracelet, clay pot, and musical instrument have in common? They just might look so good, they've been patented. Have you ever come up with a perfect product design and wondered how to protect it from being copied? If so, consider a design patent.
Netflix has built an entire business around the idea that you could rent movies without any hassles. And, the company felt its business plan was so inventive, they patented it. Now, these patents are the source of a lawsuit between Netflix and one-time rival, Blockbuster.Read more to find out about the lawsuit.
In Merck KGaA v. Integra Lifesciences I, Ltd., the Supreme Court unanimously decided that drug companies can use rivals' patented compounds in even the earliest stages of their own research "so long as there is a reasonable basis for believing that the experiments will produce 'the types of information that are relevant'" to a future submission to the Federal Food and Drug Administration (FDA). In any event, however, any new drug developed from an already-patented compound cannot be marketed until after the expiration of the original patent.
Many inventors have turned to invention submission and idea promotion companies which promise service - they say they'll evaluate your invention, research the patent and contact manufacturers on your behalf. Unfortunately, many companies that claim to help inventors develop and market their ideas have been under investigation for fraud by the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) and other government agencies. In fact, the U.S. Patent Office estimates that inventors stand to lose close to $300 million each year. How do you protect your invention and your wallet from fraudulent invention promotion companies?
It's a familiar story: Inventors with the brightest ideas who wound up on the losing side of history. Why? Because they either sold their ideas too soon or lost the race to the patent office—in some cases by a few days or even hours.
Caspi's company offers licensing deals to parents who have an idea or prototype, but do not want to manufacture the product. Her company has been featured in numerous media outlets, including The Wall Street Journal, Los Angeles Business Journal, and television talk shows across the country. So, what's all the hype?
An invention's patent is considered personal property. Under patent law, each co-inventor named on a patent application owns that property. In the absence of any agreement, each co-inventor owns 100 percent of the patent, regardless of how much each individual contributed to the invention. Patent law gives co-owners of a patent the right to make, use, license, sell and import the patented invention within the United States in whatever way they please, without the consent of the other co-owners.
When he was still a young adult, Les Paul invented what would later become the Holy Grail of Rock and Roll: the electric guitar. Almost a century before, a 15-year-old Louis Braille created the self-named technique enabling the blind to read and write. Today, these children are the new visionaries, continuing in the paths of inventors before them.