File Now, Pay Later

Pitfalls of the provisional patent application

5 min read

It’s one week before the big trade show, and after months of hard work you have just completed a fully functional prototype of your new product. Showing it off at the conference will do wonders for your career and put your small start-up company on the map. Then reality hits like a jolt from a Tesla coil: your new product is also an invention. You must protect your rights to it immediately, before the conference. So you write your own provisional patent application, file it with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO), and go to the show feeling like you’re wearing Superman’s cape.

Beware: there may be kryptonite close by.

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Asad Madni and the Life-Saving Sensor

His pivot from defense helped a tiny tuning-fork prevent SUV rollovers and plane crashes

11 min read
Asad Madni and the Life-Saving Sensor

In 1992, Asad M. Madni sat at the helm of BEI Sensors and Controls, overseeing a product line that included a variety of sensor and inertial-navigation devices, but its customers were less varied—mainly, the aerospace and defense electronics industries.

And he had a problem.

The Cold War had ended, crashing the U.S. defense industry. And business wasn’t going to come back anytime soon. BEI needed to identify and capture new customers—and quickly.

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