Entrepreneurship has its benefits, and for those following their passion and working hard, it’s possible to make a living doing what they love. With sites like Shopify, Amazon, Ebay, and Etsy, it’s easier than ever for a cosmetic formulator to create and sell products to the public. However, there’s a lot of competition out there. For those pioneering spirits looking for an edge over the competition, getting a patent on a product’s formula may seem like a good idea. Before beginning a lengthy and costly patent application process, it’s best to know as much as possible about the patent process and results:
What’s a formulation/composition patent?
A formulation/composition patent protects a new formulation of potentially known substances or compounds. The formula/compound must be new, not obvious, useful, and not patented by someone else, nor already in common use. For example, it may be obvious and common use to use olive oil in skin care products, and other companies have been selling skin care products with olive oil for quite some time. Thus, a hand lotion formulated with olive oil probably can’t be patented. However, if instead of oil, it contains a newly discovered plant resin that keeps skin moisture in, then the formulation is new, not obvious, useful, and not in common use.
What benefits does a formulation/composition patent provide?
A formulation/composition patent helps to protect against others using and benefitting from your hard work. It gives you the legal standing to sue someone for profiting from your work without your permission. It also allows you to license your formulation to others. It, additionally, lets others know that you had the formula/compound first (or protected it from competitors first) and that if they wish to use it, they need your permission (a license).
As with any patent, a formulation/composition patent only provides protection for your formula/compound in the country that grants it. This means that your U.S. patent only protects you in the United States. So, while your lipstick may be protected by patent in the United States, it’s not protected in Germany unless you also have a patent there.
Is my formula/compound patentable?
There are many ways to formulate a given cosmetic product. Most niche and boutique cosmetic chemists and makers don’t have radical formulas for their products. But, they may have new ingredients or use them in such a way to create a noticeable difference between their product and the competition. If the new formula/compound is useful, not obvious to others in the industry, and new, it’s possible to patent it. Also, if you figure out an easier method to combine or create a certain form (liquid, gas, aerosol, etc.) of the compound it may be patentable.
Do I need an attorney to represent me in the patent process?
It’s highly advisable to consult with an attorney when seeking a patent. The patent process is long, complicated, and more costly if not pursued correctly from the start. Our patent attorneys know both science and patent law, and we can help you determine whether you could and should patent your formulation. To schedule a consultation to discuss your options, contact our patent attorneys at 888-666-0062.
DISCLAIMER: The information contained in this article is for informational purposes only and is not legal advice or a substitute for obtaining legal advice from an attorney.
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