Protecting Design Ideas
It took one mind and three days to design the Glass Forest, but more than two years to clean up its messy aftermath. It’s a marketing and business development nightmare —securing patent and trademark protection — a full eight years after an invention.
As the one pegged with the cleanup task, I know the difficulty all too well, as do the editors of every industry magazine within my reach. Understanding not all small business owners have the time or resources to devote to patent protection, we offer our experience in
failing to protect ourselves, Edgewood Log Structures, and subsequent intellectual property called the Glass Forest, in the years following the design element’s inception.
The Glass Forest. After its first implementation in 1998 in a home in Coeur d’Alene, Idaho, it quickly became the most sought-after design element in Edgewood Log Structures’ history. Today it is plastered on the fronts of magazines, featured as advertisement, in abundant supply on the Internet, and requested by more than 80 percent of Edgewood’s new clients. It soon became obvious Edgewood was not the only one marketing the product. Since its introduction, many companies have attempted versions of the Glass Forest, claimed the invention, and in some cases even the name, as their own. Watching
your own blood, sweat and tears copied by others can be a painful process, but even worse for jameshallison casino an inventor is not being able to do a thing about it. Sadly, this is exactly what happened to the inventor of the Glass Forest.
The Patent. A patent is vitally important in business today. So essential in fact, some companies have teams dedicated to protecting intellectual properties. Unfortunately, smaller businesses don’t often have that luxury.
The Rules. An invention can be patented. However, it must fulfill the following conditions to be protected: It must be of practical use, it must show an element of novelty, and it must
show an inventive step, one which could not be deduced by a person with average knowledge of the technical field. Finally, its subject matter must be accepted as “patentable” under law. More importantly, the patent must be applied for within one
year of the invention either being sold or after being exposed in the media.
The Circumstances. The Glass Forest, created by Edgewood Log Structures, was first built in 1998. The element appeared in an editorial feature in 1999. Patent application for the Glass Forest began in 2001. The grant of patent was declined due to the protectable span of time being exceeded. Or in other words, it was too late. In 2004, the Glass Forest was copied by another entity that publicly claimed intellectual property rights to the
element. And so began the battle of reclamation.
The Protection. No protection was available for blatant patent infringement. Fortunately, names used to describe products can be trademarked. In general, it is believed that every name