I have a basic invention. I made
sketches and wrote a description.
I notarized the page and then
sealed it in an envelope and
mailed it to myself.
Question: Will this protect my
invention as I am fishing for people
to help manufacture the product?
3 Answers from Attorneys
No, mailing yourself a notarized copy of sketches and descriptions of your invention will not protect your invention.
Generally, a patent protects the functional aspects of an invention and provides the inventor a temporary monopoly (20 years) in exchange for a full description of how to perform the invention. A patent for an invention is the grant of an exclusive right to exclude others from making, using, offering for sale, or selling the invention in the US. A patent for an invention may be granted to whomever invents or discovers any new and useful process, machine, manufacture, or composition of matter, or any new and useful improvement thereof.
The only way to gain patent protection for an invention is to file a patent application with the United States Patent & Trademark Office (USPTO).
Please feel free to contact our office with your specific Intellectual Property Law concerns.
THE COMMENTS CONTAINED HEREIN ARE FOR GENERAL INFORMATIONAL USE ONLY NOT AS OR LEGAL OPINION. NO ATTORNEY/CLIENT RELATIONSHIP HAS BEEN ESTABLISHED.
The method you describe while often called “a poor man’s patent” is really nothing of the sort. If you ever got involved in a dispute over who invented first, then you could introduce your envelope as evidence of when you invented it. It will not stop someone else from practicing your invention nor could you sue them for royalties, etc. Only an issued patent will allow that. While it does not hurt to have a date on your invention, the mailing scheme will in no way give you anything close to patent rights. Additionally, it is very possible the US will abandon the “first to invent” rule that we as a nation have always followed in favor of the global “first to file” rule which will make the mailed envelope almost meaningless. The bill to change is being considered by Congress right now.
If you have any other questions, please feel free to contact me.
Mark Torche, Esq.