INDIANAPOLIS — Before you line up outside the Indianapolis Motor Speedway to pitch your idea to the “Shark Tank” television show you may want to make sure your idea is legally protected beyond being a unique concept with the potential to make money.
“There are several basic types of IP protections. They protect inventions-- there are patents, copyrights, trademarks, and trade secrets. There are some others but those are the four most common," said Jeffrey Kosc.
Kosc is a partner with the Taft Law firm in Indianapolis. His specialty is Intellectual Property.
He can't give legal advise but he says Shark Tank participants will more than likely need to file for a utility patent with the United States Patent and Trademark Office.
"A utility patent covers the way of creating something or doing something. In order to attain a utility patent you have to be able to show that it is something that is not obvious and it's novel. No one else has ever done it that's the bar you have to clear."
He also suggests people be cautious about how much of your idea you make public.
"As far as yelling it Out in public there are some concerns in terms of the timing of applications. In United States, you have one year to apply for a patent from your first public disclosure and in many foreign jurisdictions you have no days from your first public disclosure. As soon as you disclose it publicly you can no longer obtain protection. So it's important to evaluate what your market potential is before you start making in any public disclosures."
The United States Patent and Trademark Office is the federal agency which oversees the administration of patents.
Be wary of any online offers to help the process easier. The process can be lengthy and involves fees depending on our application to the USPTO.