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Don't Lose Your Rights: Why Dates are so Important.

In the United States, the first person to invent something is the person who is entitled to the patent, provided they did not abandon the idea along the way.
Typically the first to invent is also the first to the patent office with a patent application, however, this is not always the case. When two different inventors assert that they were the first to invent then the patent office must investigate the priority date of each inventor to determine who invented first.

Only the first to invent is entitled to the patent. We strongly encourage potential inventors to keep dated notes and drawings in bound notebooks that not only document their ideas, but also document prototypes and results obtained. We also strongly encourage potential inventors to periodically have their notebooks read, dated, and signed by trusted persons who understand the matter contained therein. These actions will put you in a stronger position with your invention should anyone challenge your priority date.

In many countries other than the United States the first person to file for a patent on an invention is the only person entitled to the patent. So you may be the first to invent, but if you are not the first to file you may experience great disappointment!



Ted Heske is the CEO of Heske Consulting in Atlanta, GA.  He is a licensed Professional Engineer and a licensed US Patent Agent.

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