Many businesses seek to protect their inventions via patents, as is evidenced by the fact that the United States Patent and Trademark Office received over 600,000 patent applications in 2013 alone. This type of intellectual property protection, however, may not be appropriate for every situation. There are a number of pros and cons to patent ownership, all of which Las Vegas entrepreneurs may want to review prior to filing a patent application.
According to the Legal Information Institute, if a patent application is approved by the USPTO, the holder of that patent enjoys a number of exclusive rights. These privileges generally last between 14 and 20 years, with extensions available for certain types of inventions. During this time, a patent owner has the ability to control the use of a protected invention and has the right to pursue civil litigation to resolve any corporate dispute involving patent infringement.
These strong legal protections are also accompanied by a few drawbacks, as noted by FindLaw. Although patent holders can choose to file a lawsuit if a business dispute arises regarding a patent, such litigation can be challenging. This is because this field of law often involves not only complex legal issues, but also complicated scientific matters.
Patents also require some research and financial investment. For example, inventors who have publicly disclosed their inventions must file an application with the USPTO within one year of that disclosure. The federal agency also requires that fees be paid with all applications, as well as upon application approvals. Patent holders are also required to pay maintenance fees for the life of their patents.