This article was written for a Linkedin Post.
Copyright © Peter Sissons 2023
Now, what's it to be? Patent and/or Registered Design?
There is an enormous difference between the protection and meaning of a patent and a registered design for a product or part of a product if a government awards either to an inventor or company.
There seems to be confusion about what’s what with both types of protection, however examining past infringement cases, it is easy to show how each beast can easily swallow many truckloads of money, cause you to pull your hair out, lose your brain somewhere en route, and finally leave you wondering why you started the whole process anyway.
That was all negative… and it is for good reason because the homework or your due diligence that most people or companies should have been covered in minute detail before they set foot in a patent agent’s office is usually never really attempted.
All the information is out on the internet to assess the protection you think you require, either in unintelligible patent gobbledegook or in plain language, with enormous numbers of peoples’ and companies’ experiences (usually difficult), giving great insights into what is ahead of anyone contemplating either obtaining a patent or registering a design.
The ‘problem’ of registered design cover is just that - that is all it does: it registers the name of your design, and that is about it! The process is like throwing four dice in the air, thinking you know what will happen when they land, and then having someone turn each die over on the table to show different numbers. Beware of it! Registered design protection (if you can call it that) is deemed to cover ONLY the shape AND any other product attributes. I’ve capitalised AND because of past cases that shocked product owners when they thought they had protection for their designs.
The first picture shows the owners of Trunki losing to PMS and their Kiddee Case - spot the differences or should it be similarities?
The second is Dyson losing to Vax, and the third is Gucci losing to Guess.
Shocked? Now read their cases and a hundred more before applying for a registered design cover.
Now, let's have a go at the much bigger animal that will take chunks out of you in many ways - the wonderful world of patents.
They usually take an inordinate amount of time to happen, consume your money and require a superb and understanding patent agent to take you through the complicated process. Together with a colleague, we have been awarded European and US patents for a new dental brush to combat gum disease; they took many years of hard work from the start of the process to their finale. We won’t talk about the money involved since it gives me indigestion and brain ache; however, thankfully, my patent agent is wonderful.
A patent agent talks patent language – you don’t! They form extremely specific words, phrases, sentences, and numbers into a specification to cover what you have invented –
an invention which you think no one in the whole world has thought of, nor has ever seen before, and has an inventive step or steps not apparent to anyone in the whole world and is capable of industrial application. I made these words bold since they are extremely important in defining a patent, and their meaning has to be fulfilled in every respect. Now that’s a huge ask for a doodle you’ve just got excited about over your morning coffee! It is imperative to complete thorough due diligence before seeing a patent agent. Always
assume someone has already invented your idea, and be prepared to have the stuffing knocked out of you. I can guarantee that the simpler an invention is, it will have been patented. Remember, even if an invention has been patented in 1882, it’s in the public domain and is known as Prior Artwork.
The fourth picture shows Nintendo’s Wii controllers; the company had to pay Life Technologies $10 million in damages for 6 patent infringements of their motion-sensing technology.
The fifth shows an iPhone since Apple had to pay $502 million to VirnetX after infringing its security.
CONCLUSION - COMMIT THIS TO MEMORY
Don’t waste your time and money… due diligence is much cheaper, and THEN appoint a good Patent Agent with a successful track record.
Bon Chance (you will need it!)
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