Filing Bicycle Patents

Bicycle patents legally protect inventions and new technologies related to bicycles. Utility patents are granted for new products and improvements to existing products, while design patents protect a product's appearance or design. Filing a provisional patent protects your invention for a full year with patent pending status. The application for a provisional patent is inexpensive and relatively easy to complete. Experts recommend filing for a provisional patent as soon as possible so that you can profit from your idea. After being granted a provisional patent, you have 12 months to file the full patent application. 

First, you'll need to find out if someone else has already created and/or patented your idea. Many new bicycle innovations have already been patented; in fact, some bike companies find new ideas in existing patent applications. Start by searching for related inventions online at the site of the United States Patent and Trademark Office. They have a tool that allows you to search by keyword and other criteria. Check the abstract and cover page so you can quickly find related inventions. Design patents are designed with a D at the beginning of their identification number. 

After you've determined that no similar inventions are already in existence, you're ready to apply for a provisional patent. This application is shorter and less detailed than the final patent application. You should hire a patent lawyer to assist with the required documentation. They can help you meet the patent law requirements in your applications. Knowing a few basics can help you better understand the language used in patents. The claims are the most important part of any patent application. Understanding the claims requirements is important even if you have a patent attorney since you know your invention better than anyone else. The claims section lists the elements that make your invention unique. Having fewer claims will strengthen your patent since an infringing product must be determined to infringe on every claim listed in the patent. However, the doctrine of equivalents states that any similar product infringes on a patent, but this is left up to the discretion of the courts. 

Even an inexpensive patent lawsuit could cost $100,000 or more to defend. If you don't have the resources to enforce your patent in court, larger companies can use, sell, and profit from your invention. They may use legal tools that can cost you thousands before the case ever goes to trial.

If you file a patent application in the United States, those in other countries can still produce and sell your product. Although you can file for patent protection in more than one country, it's best to stick only to your key markets. For example, innovative bicycle products have a large European market, so you should plan to file your bike-related patent in specific European countries. Once you obtain your provisional patent, the year of protection applies in all markets.

Patents can also help you think of new ideas for inventions. For example, you can enhance expired patents with new technology; these improvements themselves can often be patented. In some cases, you can apply to use a new technology for different products. For example, a new type of bike lubricant might also have uses for cars or motorcycles. 

Top Five Cycling Patents

Bicycling is a method of transportation, a means of exercise, and even a sport. Different types of bikes, gear, and equipment can also be patented. Here are some of the most influential bicycle-related patents.

  • The folding bicycle has a collapsible frame that makes it easily portable
  • A helmet is an important piece of safety equipment, especially when outfitted with a chin guard and adjustable strap for ideal fit. 
  • A bike basket and cover allow you to transport groceries, books, and other objects while cycling.
  • The hand control device allows you to manually switch gears while riding
  • The motorized unicycle

Evolution of Bicycles

The bicycle is considered among the greatest inventions of all time for allowing people to travel easily among towns and communities. Although most commuters now rely on cars and public transit, bicycles are still a popular pastime, sport, exercise, and way of getting around.

If you need help with bicycle patents, you can post your legal need on UpCounsel's marketplace. UpCounsel accepts only the top 5 percent of lawyers to its site. Lawyers on UpCounsel come from law schools such as Harvard Law and Yale Law and average 14 years of legal experience, including work with or on behalf of companies like Google, Menlo Ventures, and Airbnb.