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Maricopa County Chamber of Commerce

Welcome to the Maricopa County Chamber of Commerce. Every business member who joins our chamber has a fully functional, Search Engine Optimized Blog at their fingertips. We want to empower our Maricopa County Business Owners with the tools to market their business and drive more traffic to their front door. So now you can not only keep up to date on what the Maricopa County Chamber is doing but you can follow all our Business Members, and Charitable Organizations and what they are doing as often as you like! It's all about empowering our Maricopa County Community!

Provisional Patent Application - Here is What you Need to Know!

 

 

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We are asked all the time what is a provisional patent application (PPA), and what are the benefits of filing a PPA. A PPA is a patent application that can be used to secure your filing date without having all the added costs associated with filing and presecuting a non-provisional patent application. If a non-provisional patent application is filed within one year of filing a PPA you may claim the benefit of the filing date of the PPA. In other words it is a place holder for you to be able to determine whether your invention is commercially viable before spending a lot of money on filing fees, and prosecution of a non-provisional application. Another key point is that a PPA will not lead to public disclosure, it does not get published unless its application number is noted in a later published application or patent.
 
A PPA gives you the application the ability to have an additional year to experiment, perfect your invention, find venture capitalist, market it, license it, or test the market before filing a non-provisional application. In addition, you can put "Patent Pending" on your invention, business plan, pitch deck, or marketing materials helping you keep the "Wolfs at Bay" until you are able to file the non-provisional and eventually get it issued into a patent.
 
A PPA has a time limit of one-year. If a non-provisional application is not filed within that year then there are no extensions available and you lose that priority date. By law you have to file a non-provisional application within the year or lose the benefit of the filing date. In addition, at the year mark you will have to file your International or Foreign Application at the same time claiming the benefit of the PPA. One risk you take by filing a PPA is that if during the year you add new matter, or new material to your invention that is not covered in your PPA, the new material may not rely on the PPA filing date, which could affect patentability if a reference disclosing the later-described invention is published after the filing of the PPA, but before the filing date of the non-provisional application.
 
So the question is what do I need to file a PPA? www.uspto.gov/forms
1. A written description of your invention that meets the requirements of 35 USC 112. What is it, how does it function, how do the parts work together. This should be clear enough to enable someone skilled in the art the ability to make and use your invention;
2. Drawings as Necessary; and
3. Fees.
 
The USPTO gives a great summary of a PPA as listed below:
  1. A PPA expires after one year.
  2. You cannot extend a PPA.
  3. You cannot renew a PPA.
  4. A PPA will never become a patent.
  5. You cannot file a PPA for a design .
  6. The USPTO does not examine PPAs .
  7. The USPTO does not conduct a prior art .search on PPAs
  8. The USPTO does review PPAs to make sure they meet minimum filing requirements.
  9. PPAs are not published by the USPTO (unless claimed as priority in a later-issued or published non-provisional application).
  10. You can use the term "patent pending" for the duration of the one-year pendency of a PPA
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Trade Secrets...What are They?

 

The Uniform Trade Secrets Act ("UTSA") defines a "trade secret" as: "information, including a formula, pattern, compilation, program, device, method, technique, or process that: Derives independent economic value, actual or potential, from not being generally known to, and not being readily ascertainable by proper means by, other persons who can obtain economic value from its disclosure or use; and Is the subject of efforts that are reasonable under the circumstances to maintain its secrecy." The United States Patent and Trademark Office states that a trade secret must be used in business and must be used to gain an economic advantage over your competitors who do not know or use it.
 
Trade Secret laws can vary from state to state, however, there are similarities among the laws because almost all states have adopted some form of the Uniform Trade Secret Act ("UTSA"). In addition the U.S. has passed the Defend Trade Secrets Act which created, "federal civil cause of action, strengthening U.S. trade secret protection, with a choice for the parties between localized disputes under state laws or disputes under federal law, heard in federal courts." USPTO. Courts can protect your trade secrets as long as they remain secret. If the trade secret hold fails to main its secrecy or if it is independently discovered by a third party, or generally released to the public then the trade secret is lost, and your company cannot receive any protection for what you think is proprietary information. One of the best examples of a trade secret is Coca Cola's recipe for Coke, which is kept in a vault in Atlanta, Georgia.
Coca Cola Vault
 
 
Coca Cola Vault
Coke's trade secret has lasted for over 100 years and continues to be a trade secret today.
 
Courts can protect your trade secret by enjoining misappropriation. Misappropriation is defined as acquiring the trade secret "through improper means, or where it is disclosed or used without the express or implied consent of the trade secret owner after having been acquired under circumstances giving rise to a duty to maintain its secrecy. ‘Improper means’ include theft, bribery, misrepresentation, breach or inducement of a breach of a duty to maintain secrecy, or espionage through electronic or other means." IPO.org. If your trade secret has been misappropriated the courts can award you damages, court costs, and reasonable attorneys' fees.
 
For your trade secrets to be upheld in court you must take reasonable security precautions. This helps provide evidence that your information has and will remain a trade secret. Investment in these precautions shows the courts that the information has value to your company and is a viable trade secret. These security precautions notify the employees and others that your information is confidential, and any unauthorized use or disclosure is improper.
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