Who are patent engineers?
Patent engineers are law professionals who assist in the preparation of patent filings. Patent attorneys often have a group of Patent Engineers on staff. Many Patent Engineers have technical degrees.
www. Patent Engineers .com

How to patent an idea, and profit from your invention
Patent an invention
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    Topic  
    Index  
   
01 Profiting from your inventions 101 (How to file a patent)
the patent process
02 What is an invention?
novelty, patentable subject matter
03 How do patents protect your rights to an invention?
rights, enforcement
04 Why use an Inventor's Logbook
why it is important to keep one
05 How to keep an Inventor's Logbook
guidelines and tips
06 Copyrights, trademarks and patents.
is one better than the other
07 What does a patent look like?
embodiments, claims etc.
08 Which countries should I file my patent in?
usually in more than one country
09 How much time and money to file in?
legal fees, time taken
10 How do I collect royalties off my patents?
enforcement
11 Search for prior art
resources and databases
12 Your responsibilities
and your attorney's responsibilities
A Case study: a patent (part 1)
a patent dissected
B Case study: a patent (part 2)
a patent dissected
C 10 Simple Inventions
used all over the world!
D Tips for Inventors
pitfalls and hints
E How to Invent
(Anyone can be an inventor!)

how to start inventing
F The patent process
the formal patent process
   
       
 
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Copyrights, trademarks and patents. What's the difference?

There are 3 main types of intellectual property that are recognized in almost all countries of the world.

Copyrights. Copyrights protect an expression of an idea. For example, a book can be copyrighted, so that anyone who sells unauthorized copies of the book can be sued. However, a copyright does not protect the idea behind an expression. So if an author copyrighted his murder mystery involving 2 protaganists, it doesn't mean that no one else can write a 2-protaganist murder mystery. That would only be true if the idea of a murder mystery involving 2 protaganists were patented (which thankfully it isn't, or we wouldn't have too many stories to read).

Trademarks. Trademarks protect a sign or a phrase or some other distinctive symbol that identifies a particular person or company that produces products. A trademark may also protect a brand or some other symbol that uniquely identifies products from a certain source. For example, I could trademark a brand called "Plain Jane Cookies", so that no one else would be able to sell cookies using the "Plain Jane Cookies" name. This would prevent my customers from being fooled into buying someone else's cookies when they are looking for mine. That's essentially the intent of Trademarks, to prevent others from "impersonating" you in the context of selling products and services.

Patents. Patents protect an idea. In a sense, it is a stronger form of protection than a copyright because it protects the idea behind something, not just the thing itself. For example, say I have invented a new super sorting algorithm that sorts gene sequences in superfast O(1) time and wrote a program to do this (those computer science experts among you will contend that this is impossible, but humor me for a moment). If I only copyrighted my program, then someone could just write a slightly different program using the same algorithm, and I wouldn't be able to do anything to stop him. But if I had patented my super-algorithm, then anyone else writing any program that uses this algorithm would have to get permission from me.

However, partly because they are such a strong form of protection, patents are not easily granted. The patent examiner must be convinced that your idea is truly something novel (new), and you must be able to demonstrate how your idea can be embodied. i.e. you must be able to show how to implement your invention. You can't for example, patent the idea of a Star Trek transporter unless you can demonstrate how to build one in your patent filing.



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Copyright © 2008 Wei-lung Wang All rights reserved.
Email: wang@patentengineers.com.