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By J.D. Houvener
Patent Attorney and Founder

Matt: In trademark law, to get a trademark registration, we have to prove to the government that we went to market with the product or service. Do you have to go to market with your product or service to get a patent?

JD: No, you do not. Very good question.

JD: For a patent, you need to provide evidence that it’s new (first of its kind in the world), non-obvious, and, if it’s a Utility Patent, that it has some benefit or functionality. You don’t need to provide evidence that you’ve actually built it. You just need to provide written words and, if necessary, a drawing to show enough evidence to the examiner that you could build it. This is called “enablement.”

JD: You’ve shared with the world how to build your invention even if you’ve never built it. One reason for the 20-year patent term is that the patent office acknowledges it may take a while to build and market the invention. They want to reward the inventor for bringing it to the world.

Matt: This makes sense because, as citizens, we don’t care if you go to market with your invention as long as you teach us how to use it. This is different from trademark law, where we don’t want to clutter the system with zombie trademark applications.

Matt: There were some smart attorneys and judges out there who figured this out over hundreds of years. We truly stand on the shoulders of giants.

About the Author
J.D. Houvener is a Registered USPTO Patent Attorney who has a strong interest in helping entrepreneurs and businesses thrive. J.D. leverages his technical background in engineering and experience in the aerospace industry to provide businesses with a unique perspective on their patent needs. He works with clients who are serious about investing in their intellectual assets and provides counsel on how to capitalize their patents in the market. If you have any questions regarding this article or patents in general, consider contacting J.D. at