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Protecting Your Critical Inventions On A Tight Budget

A three-step system to get the most value with little cost.

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Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

If your business relies on inventions to maintain a competitive edge, you need to keep the pipeline flowing even when funds are scarce. A slow economy or other business disruption doesn’t mean you can ignore critical inventions. If you don’t take timely action to protect them, you may forfeit the right to file a patent application. That means other companies can freely use your unique inventions in their own competing products.

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For example, U.S. patent laws have time requirements for filing patent applications. If your company publicly discloses an invention or sells a product with the invention, those activities can trigger a one-year deadline to file a patent application covering it. If you don’t act before the one-year deadline, you can forfeit your ability to obtain patent protection.

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