Grosse Ile, MI asked in Products Liability, Copyright, Business Law and Patents (Intellectual Property) for Michigan

Q: I have a product i want to make my own and start production and sales and i wanna know all my options

There can also be other variantions of it made and i want that too all different sizes and shapes but it the same product

1 Lawyer Answer
Peter D. Mlynek
Peter D. Mlynek
  • Intellectual Property Lawyer
  • Moorestown, NJ

A: Congratulations on your new venture. I hope that it will be profitable for you.

And also congratulations about worrying about patents now, before you start the production and sales. Too many people ignore patents, spend lots of money on designs, tooling up, and manufacturing their product, only to be hit with a cease and desist letter by a patent owner.

There are two main issues regarding patents that you need to worry about: Can you make and sell your product? Can you keep others from copying your product? The first question is typically more important.

You need to make sure that by making, selling, or offering for sale your product, that you are not infringing on someone else's patent. You should find a patent attorney and ask for a Freedom To Operate opinion (FTO opinion) regarding your product. The patent attorney will search (or, more likely, have a search company do the search) of all enforceable patents. The search will come up with about 10 to 20 patents that are closest to your product. The attorney will study these patents, and will be able to advise you if you are OK to proceed, or if there is something else that needs to be done. The FTO opinion can be oral, just a telephone call, or it could be a formal written one.

With regard to the second question, you may want to ask your patent attorney for an informal patentability opinion. If your product is new and not obvious, then you may consider filing a patent on it. Whether you should or should not spend the money on getting a patent, even if it is patentable, is a business decision.

Because patents are federal law, your patent lawyer does not have to be in your state; your patent attorney may be anywhere in the US.

Good luck!

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