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What Price Protection?

Want to secure your invention with a patent? It's going to cost you.

By Tomima Edmark

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

You've come up with an idea for the next big thing--but howdo you keep others from stealing it? There's really only oneway to get legal protection, and that's to file a patent withthe U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (PTO).

Many people think that sending a registered letter detailingtheir idea to an attorney, friend, or themselves (and then keepingit in a safe place, unopened) provides protection. Wrong--itdoesn't. I sent myself such a letter for my TopsyTail. Althoughit was helpful during my patent infringement lawsuits in provingwhen I came up with my idea, it doesn't prevent anyone fromstealing your invention. That's because the only legal form ofprotection recognized by the judicial system is a patent. And asyou may already know, obtaining a patent isn't cheap.

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