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Tips on Applying for a Patent

With so many different companies vying to be the best, ensuring that your intellectual property is protected is crucial. That's why Industry Week offers these smart tips on protecting valuable ideas and processes with patents.

Great ideas are central to a successful business. Accordingly, any ideas that are important to your company should be patented as soon as possible. If another person applies for a patent on a similar idea before you're able to, that person will be awarded the patent. That means your business could lose out, and be ultimately be left in the dust by a competitor.

If you apply and find your idea has already been patented, consider licensing the idea from the other company. Again, it's important to do this in a timely manner if you recognize an idea's relevance to your business. Waiting too long could result in a much higher licensing cost, which could make the process impossible for your business to compete. You can also attempt to collaborate with a business if you think a patent is extremely valuable.

Lastly, if you receive a letter claiming patent infringement, it's best to work with a lawyer skilled in this area of the law. Infringement claims are very serious, and can cost your company dearly. A lawyer will help determine if a case has merit, and whether or not you risk losing access to your valuable idea. Even seemingly meritless claims can be damaging, so it's best treat the matter with the seriousness it deserves. 

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