Could a patent help your business?
Patents have driven the success of many Colorado businesses
What do geologists, cyclists, Air Force Academy cadets and the Denver Broncos have in common? Besides being quintessentially Colorado, they are all benefiting from inventions patented by companies right here in the Rocky Mountain region.
Denver’s Fracture ID uses its Drillbit Geomechanics technology to generate high-resolution measurements of critical reservoir characteristics for the oil and gas industry. Colorado Springs-based GyroStim makes a computer-controlled, interactive, multi-axis rotating chair that challenges and exercises the vestibular, visuomotor and sensorimotor systems. It’s used by elite athletes, pilots and those recovering from concussion and traumatic brain injuries. Stages Cycling is a Boulder company that introduced indoor bikes and power meters to help avid cyclists train smarter and more efficiently.
Each is a great example of smaller companies in Colorado developing innovative products that change people’s lives. And for each, securing patents has been an important part of their business strategy. Patents help drive success in the marketplace because owning your intellectual property protects your investment and can be key to helping raise money and attract talent.
If you have invented a new concept or dramatically improved upon one, you may be eligible to patent your work. Any person who invents or discovers new and useful processes, machines, and items (or any new and useful improvement thereof) may obtain a patent. If two or more persons make an invention jointly, they apply for a patent as joint inventors.
Trademarks are also an important part of protecting your intellectual property. A trademark is a word, phrase, symbol and/or design that identifies and distinguishes the source of the goods of one party from those of others. A service mark is a word, phrase, symbol, and/or design that identifies and distinguishes the source of a service rather than goods. Some examples include brand names, slogans, and logos. The term "trademark" is often used in a general sense to refer to both trademarks and service marks.
Innovation in Colorado is thriving now more than ever and securing a patent or trademark has never been easier. The creation of the Rocky Mountain Regional Office (RMRO) of the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office in 2014 has supported significant progress. In just the first five years, the RMRO issued more than 5,000 patents for everything from clothing to artificial intelligence to toys. In that time, the office engaged with more than 90,000 regional stakeholders through over 1,260 outreach and education events in Montana, Idaho, Utah, Wyoming, North Dakota, South Dakota, Nebraska, Kansas and Colorado.
If you’re considering seeking a patent or trademark, the RMRO has a variety of educational offerings like the quarterly Trademark Tuesdays and a Path-to-a-Patent program. These are broadcast region-wide with the help of Patent and Trademark Resource Centers. And because opening the RMRO allowed for the hiring of additional examiners, the process has become faster and easier to navigate.
The RMRO is proud to help foster Colorado’s innovation ecosystem. If you’re a Colorado creator, be sure to check out the tips, tools and inspiring stories at USPTO.gov.
Molly Kocialski is the director of the Rocky Mountain Regional Office of the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office.