You may have heard you can protect your invention by describing it in a written document and mailing that document to yourself in a sealed envelope by mail that shows proof of delivery. That unopened, dated document with the date confirmed by the proof of delivery does help show when you invented something. Unfortunately, that’s largely meaningless in terms of legal protection. An official patent application is a must.

Since 2013, patent laws in the United States are governed by “first to file” rules. That means that if two people who invent the same thing independently, the first to file a patent application is the one most likely to be granted the patent, even if the other actually invented it first.

Is it unfair that this somewhat boils down to “you snooze, you lose?” Maybe, but fair or not, that’s the system, and you need to work within it to protect your rights.

If you have an invention you think is worth patenting, don’t delay starting the registration process. Make sure YOU are the first to file a patent application for your invention!

King Business and Patent Law can help you with the patent application process.

Learn more about patents here.

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