What if someone steals your idea after you filed for a patent

Americans believe anyone can be successful with a little hard work and determination. For many people, success is starting their own business. For others, success is creating a new idea or a better way of doing something.

You can protect your new invention by filing for a patent. However, getting approved for a patent usually takes one to three years. During that time, someone may try to knock off your invention and leave you wondering if you have any legal recourse.

Patent pending provides protection to your invention

Once you file a patent application with the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO), your patent is pending. You can use a patent pending notice on your products. Your invention is also protected from theft or unauthorized use. If someone else tries to sell your product, you have the right to pursue legal action against them. However, you cannot sue anyone until your patent is approved.

Can you do anything before a patent is approved?

Before a patent is issued, you can write a cease and desist letter to the infringing company. Warn the company about your patent application, and state if they do not stop selling the product, you will sue once the application is approved. The company may not know about your application, so this could provide a wakeup call.

The business could also ignore your letter, but you should send it anyway. This establishes the company was aware of your patent application, when you go file a lawsuit against them.

When your patent is approved, you can file suit against anyone who infringed on your patent. If a company willfully infringed on your patent, you may be to file for triple damages.

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