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Developing Hidden Intellectual Property Assets is an Effective Way to Build a Nutritional Portfolio

Intellectual property (IP) assets have come into the spotlight with the passage of the America Invents Act (AIA), the U.S. Patent reform law signed by the President last fall. This event marks the first major revision of U.S. patent law since 1952. In light of the change from being a “first to invent” to a “first-inventor-to-file” system and other provisions taking effect on March 16, 2013, business owners now more than ever need to take a “boots on the ground” approach in order to secure and preserve their an IP position in the marketplace.

Because the current marketplace in nutraceuticals, dietary supplements and functional foods is so dynamic and lucrative, it is very competitive and as a result, very dynamic, with changing consumer tastes and bidding wars for suppliers with the hottest items. To ensure a steady supply of products in such a competitive atmosphere, entrepreneurs intent upon adapting during economic downturns while maintaining proper investment ratios need to consider developing their own patent portfolio, locking in access to a product or process, thus enabling greater control of specific market niches, tamping down potential competition and, guaranteeing survivability during tight markets.

What is patentable, in the first place? Generally, “anything under the sun made by man,” may be eligible for patent protection. This includes compositions, articles of manufacture, improvements thereof, or useful processes. An important subset of inventions pertinent to the nutritional and dietary supplement industry include: