Jeffrey Johnson is a legal writer with a focus on personal injury. He has worked on personal injury and sovereign immunity litigation in addition to experience in family, estate, and criminal law. He earned a J.D. from the University of Baltimore and has worked in legal offices and non-profits in Maryland, Texas, and North Carolina. He has also earned an MFA in screenwriting from Chapman Univer...

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UPDATED: Dec 12, 2019

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Before you begin marketing any invention, be aware that you are running the danger of disclosing it and having it stolen. This is particularly significant before a patent is applied for and issued. A patent attorney is obligated to treat all your communications as privileged and confidential; others are not. Patent attorneys are also sometimes able to suggest legitimate sources that can assist you with promoting the invention.

Subject to the risks of premature disclosure and loss of confidentiality, you may also consider consulting chambers of commerce, banks, industrial development organizations, or similar groups for background help in promoting your invention.

Obtaining a Patent Application

The most important first step for all inventors is their patent application. While prudent inventors will wait and save capital and start-up fees while their patent is pending, some adventurous inventors prefer to move forward before that protection is in place. If you are ready to take the next step toward manufacturing, begin by contacting government programs geared toward independent inventors and small businesses. The United States Patent and Trademark Office has an excellent list that can guide you in the right direction. Other resources include the Small Business Association, National Minority Supplier Development Council, and the Women’s Business Enterprise National Council.

Marketing Your Invention Before Patent Approval

If you are going to market your invention before the patent is approved, make certain that you use the, “Patent Pending” mark on the product packaging and product itself. While this does not provide any concrete protection, it can be a useful piece of evidence if someone attempts to steal your invention during your early marketing attempts. If your intent is to avoid actual footwork and instead license out manufacture rights to others, contact large businesses that would be interested in your invention. For instance, if you’ve invented a new shampoo, try contacting larger shampoo companies to see if they are interested in your invention.

Marketing Your Invention: Things to Avoid

On the other side of this discussion, there are also organizations and things to avoid when it comes to marketing your product. Invention and patent marketing companies are one scam that inventors should avoid. According to the Better Business Bureau these organizations will promise to promote your invention, but then steal the actual invention if it looks promising by altering the patent form. For more information on invention marketing or invention patenting, contact a patent law attorney for a consultation or visit the United States Patent and Trademark Office website.