The #1 Rule in IP . . . Protect it Now!

Don’t wait to protect IP. Time is never on your side.

Intellectual Property protection requires that you act immediately. If you don’t you will lose valuable rights.  Here are two recent examples.

I just spoke to an inventor with a great invention. We were both excited. He said he had been working on a prototype for a year and doing tests to confirm what he already knew… this was a fantastic invention. Now he wanted to protect it.

I did a quick search and found that someone else had beaten him to the Patent Office. He lost his right to get patent protection because he waited. He didn’t need to wait; he knew that it would work, that it was great, but he just kept testing.

Remember, you can file a patent application without a product, prototype, or proof of concept. He should have at least filed a provisional application to secure his filing date and then done his testing. Unfortunately, he didn’t, and it cost him.

Another call involved a company’s trademark. The caller had used the trademark for 15 years. He decided to register his trademark because he was selling his company and the purchasers wanted it registered. This is a very common requirement because trademarks are very important to purchasers. Sometimes they can be the most valuable asset that they are buying.

I checked the USPTO and someone else had registered the same trademark 3 years earlier.

All is not lost with trademarks, but fixing the problem can cost a lot of time and money. Trademarks go to the first user. He can prove he used it first, and will be able to get his mark registered and the other’s mark canceled. However it will take time and money, and he may lose his buyer during the process.

One of my favorite songs is Time Has Come Today  by the Chambers Brothers. The opening lyrics fit this topic.

“Time has come today . . .
Can’t put off another day.
I don’t care what others say.
They say we don’t listen anyway.
Time has come today.”

If you’re in business, you have IP, trademarks, copyrights, trade secrets, and maybe patents. Give me a call and let’s talk about what you should be doing to take advantage of these valuable assets before it is too late. Act now because the clock never stops, and you might be losing rights.

Bill Honaker
Bill Honaker, The IP Guy

To get answers to your questions about anything IP click here. To schedule a time to talk, email, or give him a call at 248-433-7381.

Bill Honaker, “The IP Guy” is a former USPTO Examiner, a partner with Dickinson-Wright, and author of the new book, Invisible Assets – How to Maximize the Hidden Value in Your Business. To download a sample chapter click here. You can also find more articles about IP, patents, trademarks, and trade secrets at

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