Security and Confidentiality Considerations During Patent Prep
Assembling a strong patent application takes time. As a patent agent, you want to frame the application in such a way that will ensure a smooth approval process for your client. However, the longer that you wait to submit an application, the greater the chances that a potential competitor could edge in ahead of an inventor’s claim. During this vital time, most inventors and business developers aren’t just sitting on their hands; they’re also in the process of building prototypes, outsourcing work, talking with potential investors, and doing market research for the product. Each of these moves brings an additional risk of a security breach that could threaten their claim to intellectual property.
What can you do to help your clients protect confidentiality before you’ve officially filed the patent? Here are some important measures to take:
Provisional Applications Done Right
A provisional patent application holds your place in line for when you’re ready to actually submit the non-provisional application. Since an early priority filing date is essential to protecting your intellectual property, a provisional application done right is an important tool to gain patent protection and ownership as soon as possible.
Keep in mind that a provisional application must still describe the product in as much detail as the non-provisional application in order to hold the same place. As such, there may be some adaptation and strategy necessary with each application. However, as your client continues to develop and refine the invention, you can file subsequent provisional applications and eventually bundle them together in a non-provisional application that claims priority from the time of the first provisional patent application. One more advantage of provisional applications: your client can start using the term “patent pending” which in and of itself is often enough to scare away copycats.
Use Reliable Researchers
More and more often, companies are outsourcing work to other countries. This can be a major breach of confidentiality in the case of US patent search. A thorough patent search requires time, work, and experience. However, cutting corners by outsourcing to a cheaper source comes with associated risks. Even when you utilize US-based researchers (in-house or through a professional patent search company) there are potential security breaches through employees. Make sure that anyone you use to help you conduct research has strict measures in place to guard your confidentiality. Here at Global Patent Solutions, we staff only full-time US-based employees, and we enact strict security measures that are validated through quarterly audits by the USPTO.
Confidentiality Agreements and Non-disclosure Forms
It can be hard to navigate confidentiality agreements when working with business men and women who are wary of liability. However, this is especially important when working with others in the industry who could develop the product themselves and supplant your client’s idea. Take care with everyone that you bring into your circle of confidence, and advise your client accordingly.
Non-disclosure agreements should include a definition of what is considered confidential information, the time period in which this agreement is in force, and what the duties are of the person receiving information. Setting forth these terms specific to the person/company in question may increase the likelihood that an individual will enter into a confidentiality agreement.
Are you looking for qualified, authoritative, and secure patent search? Here at Global Patent Solutions, we pride ourselves on providing the most accurate and extensive data, while still meeting necessary timelines and price points. Contact us today to learn more.