There is another simple truth you must recognize: people work on the same ideas, at the same time. It happens. And even if you’ve done everything right, even if the USPTO has issued you a patent, you can’t trust that you’re safe and sound. Maybe someone has invented it before you, or the words that you’ve used to establish claims aren’t as black and white as you thought they were. There is always wiggle room. This isn’t something to fear, but a fact to be aware of. You should never be completely caught by surprise or totally blindsided.
I don’t think this conflict arises a lot of the time, although some people do. But I do know that we all live in the same world, and ideas are bound to be developed at similar times. It is inevitable. Very rarely do people conceive of completely new ideas – rather, ideas are built upon or modified. There are often similar variations.
There really isn’t a huge incentive for companies to take ideas from independent inventors. I’ve written numerous blogs about the way in which the innovation market is changing, specifically stressing that it is becoming more friendly to the independent inventor, rather than less. Just know, before you entangle yourself in one, that lawsuits are emotionally draining, lengthy, and the costs associated with them are far more than financial.
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