Inventors may want to get “some level of intellectual property protection,”...

Inventors may want to get “some level of intellectual property protection,” said William Salas, who runs the Smithtown Library’s patent resource center, the only one on Long Island sanctioned by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office. He is shown at his library office in Smithtown on May 2.

  Credit: Newsday/J. Conrad Williams Jr.

The euphoria that comes from creating something and wanting to get it into the hands of consumers can lead inventors to forget about protecting their creation from copycats.

“You want to tell the world about your wonderful idea, but you need to keep it under your hat until you have some level of intellectual property protection,” said William Salas, who runs the Smithtown Library’s patent resource center, the only one on Long Island to be sanctioned by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office.

He says he teaches inventors to use databases of patents and trademarks to determine if their idea is “truly novel around the world” and the steps to getting a patent, including how to find attorneys that specialize in intellectual property.

The center’s services are free, and it has helped more than 1,400 people since opening in 2013, said Salas, a would-be inventor who suggested that the library open the center after learning one at Stony Brook University was slated to close.

He and others said inventors should first complete a provisional patent application in the United States, which timestamps the date of the invention, allows for conversations with fabricators and manufacturers without fear, and permits “patent pending” to be placed on the product.

Inventors have one year to file a regular patent application after receiving the provisional patent, according to James Harrington, a senior partner in the Long Island office of Hoffmann & Baron LLP, a law firm focused on intellectual property. He works in Syosset.

Besides a U.S. patent, inventors should obtain patents in all the countries where they expect to have significant sales or where the product will be manufactured, Harrington said.

“Patents are not cheap,” he said. “They’re an investment that you make early on in your business so that if someone starts selling a knockoff of your product you have the tools to do something about it.”

The euphoria that comes from creating something and wanting to get it into the hands of consumers can lead inventors to forget about protecting their creation from copycats.

“You want to tell the world about your wonderful idea, but you need to keep it under your hat until you have some level of intellectual property protection,” said William Salas, who runs the Smithtown Library’s patent resource center, the only one on Long Island to be sanctioned by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office.

He says he teaches inventors to use databases of patents and trademarks to determine if their idea is “truly novel around the world” and the steps to getting a patent, including how to find attorneys that specialize in intellectual property.

The center’s services are free, and it has helped more than 1,400 people since opening in 2013, said Salas, a would-be inventor who suggested that the library open the center after learning one at Stony Brook University was slated to close.

“Patents are … an investment that you make early on in...

“Patents are … an investment that you make early on in your business,” said James Harrington, senior partner in the Long Island office of Hoffmann & Baron LLP. Credit: Debbie Egan-Chin

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He and others said inventors should first complete a provisional patent application in the United States, which timestamps the date of the invention, allows for conversations with fabricators and manufacturers without fear, and permits “patent pending” to be placed on the product.

Inventors have one year to file a regular patent application after receiving the provisional patent, according to James Harrington, a senior partner in the Long Island office of Hoffmann & Baron LLP, a law firm focused on intellectual property. He works in Syosset.

Besides a U.S. patent, inventors should obtain patents in all the countries where they expect to have significant sales or where the product will be manufactured, Harrington said.

“Patents are not cheap,” he said. “They’re an investment that you make early on in your business so that if someone starts selling a knockoff of your product you have the tools to do something about it.”

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