For inventors who have the "next big thing" waiting to set the world on fire, the legal experts at Hartman Global IP are ready to help take your invention from idea to reality, while helping along the way with each step and process.
"People come in with their ideas, their babies all the time," says Hartman Global IP owner Domenica Hartman. "It's our job and our passion to take their baby to fruition."
Backed by years of experience and education, the staff at Hartman Global IP are ready to assist inventors to take their idea from proof of concept to being recognized as an actual product or item. However, while many investors have visions of quick efficient processes, Domenica warns that investors willing to take the plunge have a long journey ahead of them.
"Most assume that they can have a patent approved within a year and be like Bill Gates and become a millionaire, but this is not the case," says Domenica. "This is very much one step forward, two steps back process with multiple costs and retries being the normal part of the process."
The process begins when a filed trademark is assigned to an examiner who is divided into two separate catagories: classification and sub-classification, where an invention is assigned a class. With different categories ranging from chemical, art or computers, it is an examiner's job to take a look at each potential invention, classify what kind of invention it is and decide if it passes standards.
Most patent applications are a two to three-year process with a 95% rejection rate the first time the idea is submitted. A large majority of the time the examiner will discover that this "new" invention isn't really all that new or is not novel enough to classify as something new.
"There are two main hurdles that have to be overcome when applying for a patent," says Domenica. The first one has to do with your idea, it has to be brand new and novel. The second hurdle comes from the obvious factor, it cannot be an obvious improvement of what is already out there."
One of the largest misconceptions that inventors have is the "if I don't see it, then it doesn't exist" mentality when it comes to creation. Often, inventions have actually been made before, sometimes in a different time or in a different retailer but for a multitude of reasons, went unnoticed by the public.
"I hear all the time people telling me that "I don't see this thing on the shelf of Walmart", but that doesn't matter," says Domenica. "Was it shown in the Sears Roebuck catalog 40 years ago and no one wanted it? It has to be completely new and novel."
In terms of an invention being an obvious improvement, this is more of a grey area and something that benefits from a closer, professional look and opinion.
"It person A invented the table and then years later person B comes along and wants rounder edges to prevent children from hurting themselves, that won't work as an invention," says Domenica. "However if person B wanted to invent grooves in the table the collect crumbs and make it easier to clean this is something that counts as an improvement."
Since the 1800's there have been 9 million patents registered withing the United States and while a small percentage of them belong to revolution and novel inventions such as the Wright Brother's airplane, a large majority belong to the incremental improvements category.
"In our 25 years working with inventors, we've had a 98% to 99% batting average when it comes to getting inventions approved," says Domenica. "We understand the process and we have a clear mission that we are going to get it for you."
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