Intellectual Property Law · Licensing · Technology Innovation

What’s the difference between patents and exclusivity?

| Dec 15, 2020 | Patents |

If you are an inventor in the U.S., you might have heard the words “patent” and “exclusivity” thrown around. While these terms have a similar end result, they are used in two completely different scenarios. If you are not sure which one applies to your product, here is a quick rundown of the differences between patents and exclusivity.

Patents vs. exclusivity

When you patent an item, you gain full control over that item. You can design it, tweak it, manufacture it, sell it, show it to potential investors and do nearly anything else you would like to do with it. If someone else tries to sell or manufacture your product, you might be able to sue them for patent infringement. You have complete ownership over your invention unless you decide to sell a portion of the rights to another party.

Exclusivity is a little different. With exclusivity, your competitors can’t make a similar product within a certain timeframe. This allows you to get your product on the market without worrying about competitors jumping in and grabbing a portion of your sales. Exclusivity is frequently used when drug companies release a new form of medication on the market. Other companies can’t release similar generic drugs until the exclusivity timeframe has expired.

Either way, patents and exclusivity terms both expire after a certain time. Make sure you keep this in mind as you work to get your product on the market. You may want to hire an attorney to help you through the process.

How might an attorney help you protect your intellectual property?

An attorney can guide you through virtually every aspect of the patenting process. They might help you file for a patent, renew your patent periodically, draw up contracts for potential investors, protect your brand and intellectual property, avoid shady investors or sue other parties for copyright infringement. Your attorney may also help you guard against potential lawsuits from other parties. In the end, this can help you successfully take your business to the next level.