Innovative ideas for new and improved processes and tools have brought some remarkable changes to the construction industry in recent years. For example, processes and components for modular and prefabricated structures, autonomous construction robots, and technology solutions designed to manage job sites more effectively have created resource efficiencies, improved safety, and established more environmentally sustainable methods of completing new construction or renovating existing structures.
Whether you are a construction professional with an idea for process improvement, a technology entrepreneur, or simply an inventor with an idea you think could benefit the construction industry, you may want to consider pursuing patent protection. Construction patents for eligible innovations offer valuable protection that could give you an edge over the competition for up to 20 years.
Considerations for Construction Patents
Many ideas for construction-related inventions or process improvements are eligible for patent protection. But that does not mean it always makes sense to pursue construction patents. Applying for patent protection comes with a cost, and applying for a patent does not mean the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) will issue a patent.
Most construction patents are utility patents, which patent the way a device, tool, or process functions. Design patents, in contrast, only address the item’s outward appearance. If you have an idea for a new ornamental design for use in buildings or materials, you may be able to obtain a design patent for it.
Useful, New, and Nonobvious
To be eligible for either a utility patent or a design patent, your idea for a new or improved construction device, tool, or process must be useful. It must also be both new and nonobvious. Many patent applications are rejected because a USPTO examiner is able to identify a substantially similar innovation that is already patented (or in the process) or which has previously appeared in an industry-related publication. Conducting a thorough patent search can help identify any such “prior art” and can help you differentiate your idea or invention should you choose to apply for a patent.
If you are confident that your invention or idea is new, nonobvious, and useful, the next question is whether it makes financial sense to pursue patent protection. A utility patent, once granted, provides protection for 20 years. During that time, the patent holder owns the exclusive rights to market, make, use, sell, and license the patented invention or process.
If a competitor oversteps, the patent holder can seek to enforce their rights and may be able to obtain monetary damages for proven infringement. Because they own exclusive rights, patent holders can decide to allow other businesses to license the patented products or processes. This can provide an additional revenue stream that can more than make up for the expense of obtaining patents.
When considering applying for a construction patent, ask yourself if the potential commercial value of your invention, idea, or process over the next 20 years is worth the cost of patenting it. If the answer is “yes,” “maybe,” or “I’m not sure,” talk to a knowledgeable patent attorney.
Considering a Construction Patent for Your Idea? Bold Patents Can Help.
If you think your construction-industry idea or invention may be patentable, Bold Patents can help you take the next step. We work with individual inventors, start-up firms, and established businesses nationwide to help them understand and evaluate options for protecting their intellectual property.
Our services, provided by industry-experienced attorneys using a fully remote service model, include conducting patent searches, providing detailed opinions, assisting with the patent application process, and more. Transparent, flat-fee pricing takes away the guesswork about bills for legal services.
To learn more about boldly pursuing construction patents for your ideas, contact us today to schedule a complimentary Discovery Call.