Acquiring an idea to market can be a challenging, time-consuming and costly endeavor. That is why many inventors enlist the assistance of a patent lawyer to safeguard their innovations.

A patent is a legal document that grants an inventor exclusive rights to their invention for an agreed upon period of time. This allows the creator to prevent others from making, using or selling the patented invention while keeping it public knowledge.

Any apparatus or device used to exercise or train is called fitness equipment. It can be found in gyms, fitness centers or at home. You can find everything from dumbbells and resistance bands, to more complex machines such as treadmills, ellipticals and weight machines, in fitness equipment.

These are some of the most common types fitness equipment:

  1. Cardiovascular Equipment – These machines are designed for increasing heart rate and improving cardiovascular health. These machines include stationary bikes, treadmills, and ellipticals.
  2. Strength Training Equipment – These machines are made to tone and build strength. You can use weight machines, dumbbells and barbells to help build your muscles.
  3. Flexibility and Mobility Equipment – These tools are made to increase mobility and flexibility. Foam rollers, yoga mats and stretching straps are just a few examples.
  4. Functional Training Equipment – These equipment are made to mimic real-life movements and improve your overall fitness. You can use suspension trainers, medicine balls and kettlebells as examples.
  5. Accessories – These smaller items can be used with other fitness equipment such as heart rate monitors and workout gloves.
Image credit: Pixabay

If you have a fitness equipment invention, here is a guideline on how you can patent.

Patent Searches

A patent search is one of the most essential steps an inventor must take in order to safeguard their invention from being stolen by others. Doing this can save them both time and money on the patent application process, since rejection for patent infringement would mean wasted effort and resources.

To conduct a patent search for your invention, the most efficient way to do so is by visiting the United States Patent and Trademark Office’s website. Here, you can enter as much relevant information about your idea as possible and receive an overview of any existing patents that pertain to it.

If you’re uncertain of the keywords to use for your search, consulting with a patent attorney or agent is recommended. They have access to an expansive vocabulary that will enable you to locate relevant patents quickly.

When researching technology, another factor to take into account is what type of searches should be conducted. This will influence what keywords can be used and how detailed your investigation should go.

When conducting historical research, make sure you go back far enough in time to cover as much ground as possible. While this may be challenging if you’re just starting out, it is essential that you don’t miss any crucial details.

Remember, there are various classification systems used around the world. This may make it harder to locate patents relevant to your product. Utilizing the Cooperative Patent Classification system can assist in narrowing down your search by providing more precise data. This system was developed jointly between the USPTO and European Patent Office to harmonize various patent classification systems around the world.

This can help you identify similar inventions from different eras, but be aware that not all patent examiners are alike and some may classify an identical invention differently. Keyword searches often yield only a limited number of relevant results, so it is essential to pursue additional strategies. This could include using citation databases or other research techniques.

Searching for patents is the most efficient method. Combining keyword searches and full-text searches can be especially advantageous when researching a specific technology, since these will help narrow down your search and prevent you from overlooking any relevant patents.

Filing a Notice of Allowance

A notice of allowance is an essential document that confirms whether your product can receive a patent. Once you receive it, filing for patent application and paying the government Issue Fee usually takes between 1-3 months to complete.

When the United States Patent Office determines your product is eligible for patenting, they will send you a Notice of Allowance. This document also specifies how long the patent can remain active before expiring and that you must pay an Issue Fee before receiving your patented product.

When developing a product or technology, it’s wise to conduct market research and analysis prior to patenting it. Doing this will enable you to decide the most suitable type of protection for your invention: either a design patent or utility patent.

When applying for a patent, it’s essential that you consult with an experienced lawyer. They can guide you through every step of the process – from searching and assessing your invention through filing an application and receiving a patented product – from start to finish.

In the United States, there is a variety of regulations and standards that apply to fitness equipment. These include 21 CFR 890 (FDA), CPSIA, California Proposition 65, as well as ASTM/UL standards.

For instance, the FDA regulates exercise equipment intended for medical use. However, non-measuring equipment is exempt from both 510(k) premarket notification and FDA clearance requirements.

Another regulatory agency that could impact your gym equipment is the FCC. This body requires that RF devices receive proper authorization before being sold or imported into America.

Many of these regulations require third-party laboratory testing, so you should make arrangements with your supplier ahead of mass production to guarantee they can conduct necessary assessments.

Filing a Patent Application

Obtaining a patent on your invention is the initial step toward protecting its intellectual property rights. Doing so allows you to legally prevent others from making, selling or using it without paying them any money.

Filing a patent application involves several steps, so it’s wise to enlist the assistance of a knowledgeable patent attorney. They can assess whether your idea is patentable, assist with preparation and filing an application, as well as explain what protections are available through this process.

A patent is a legal document that grants you exclusive rights to your invention for two decades. Unlike trademarks, which protect both name and design, patents are territorial rights that only cover products manufactured and sold within the country where it was granted.

A patent application outlines your invention in detail, with a specification, series of claims and any necessary drawings. The claims specifically identify and assert your exclusive rights in order to give public notice about your privileges.

Your patent application also contains a description of “prior art,” or the state of knowledge at the time your invention was created. Generally speaking, this prior art refers to any information available to the public before you filed your patent application or more than one year prior.

Conduct a search of existing patents online or with software. These searches can help determine whether your invention is new and whether it could be subject to prior art if you decide to pursue patenting it.

Conducting a patent search before filing your patent application is highly recommended, as it can improve the quality and dependability of your document, saving time and money in preparation. Furthermore, consulting an attorney prior to filing is recommended in order to guarantee that your application is well-crafted and meets USPTO requirements.

 Examples of a fitness equipment patent.

Patent no US6929588B2

Image credit: Google Patents

“An exercise platform for low-impact exercises that is of a resilient shell that can contain components, such as liquids, foams, pellets, solids, and gases, but more typically air. This filled shell gives the desired resistance and passivity to the exercise platform and provides a surface that produces low to almost no impact when, jogging, bouncing, etcetera. The platform can have a rigid base or frame with removable or collapsible legs, and/or casters used for height adjustment and mobility.”

Filing a Grant

Inventing a fitness product that works better and easier can be an exhilarating endeavor, but it also presents some daunting challenges. Fortunately, there are steps you can take to get your venture off the ground in a positive light.

As a starting point, you might want to consider hiring a patent attorney or consulting with an experienced patent agent. These experts can guide you through the complex web of patent laws and regulations that pertain to your invention.

A grant is the process of applying and receiving funding for a project or undertaking. These are the steps required to file a grant application:

  1. Identify funding sources – The first step in identifying funding sources is to find funding sources that match your research or project goals. This could be private foundations or government agencies.
  2. Check the application guidelines. Each funding source has specific guidelines and requirements that grant applications must follow. These guidelines should be carefully reviewed and noted for any formatting requirements or deadlines.
  3. Create a grant proposal. The grant proposal should contain a description of your research or project, as well as its goals and expected outcomes. A detailed budget and timetable should be included.
  4. Submit your grant application – After you have completed the grant request, you can submit your application following the guidelines provided by the funding source. You can submit the application online, by email, or by regular mail.
  5. Wait for a response. After you submit the grant application, wait for the response from the funding source. This can take up to several months depending on how many applications they receive.
  6. Implement the project – Once your grant application has been approved, you will be able to start implementing the project according the budget and timeline that you have set out in your proposal. Throughout the duration of your project, you may be required to submit periodic updates to the funding source.

Not all grant applications will be approved. The grant application process is competitive. You can increase your chances of success by carefully reviewing the requirements and developing a compelling grant proposal that clearly articulates your project goals. Also to guarantee a strong foundation for your patent application, begin by outlining your business model. This will assist in selecting the most advantageous path to monetizing your fitness product. Depending on what objectives you have set for yourself, you may decide to license or sell the patented invention.