When you have an invention in mind, or a product you have already started to develop, your thoughts turn to protecting that idea. You want to be able to make money from your invention, and you don’t want other people to unfairly profit from it. One way to safeguard your idea is to take out a patent. But patents can be difficult to obtain and expensive to file. Should you patent your invention? These are they key issues you need to consider before you decide whether patent filing is right for you.
1. You Need a Business Plan
It is not usually financially viable to take out a patent on a product or idea that doesn’t have any way of making money. You need to put together a business plan that will show how much money you can expect to make, otherwise it may be too expensive to take out and keep a patent on your invention. You will also need to know that you have the funds available to fight any challenge to your patent in the courts – a patent does not automatically protect your idea.
2. Not All Patents are Valuable
Some patents are extremely valuable, according to patent specialists Sach-Associates.com. But not all patents are for ideas or products like the light bulb, or scientific patents in the pharmaceutical industry. You need to make sure that the potential for profit is greater than the amount of money and time you will spend getting the patent.
3. Your Invention must be New
Make preliminary checks to define whether your product is truly new. Don’t waste your time applying for a patent on an idea that already exists and is patented. You can search patent inventories of have a patent attorney do this for you.
4. A Patent Professional is Invaluable
You will have a much better chance of securing a patent when you work with an experienced patent attorney or consultant. The application can be difficult and it is not a given that you will obtain a patent even when your invention is new and innovative. You can usually access a free consultation session with an attorney before you decide whether it is viable to continue with a patent application.
5. Other Ways to Protect an Invention
It can be a long process before a patent application is finalised and there are other options for protection including developing a registered trade mark, or a registered design. You can also work with trade secrets and confidentiality agreements.
Image: Image courtesy of Stuart Miles/ FreeDigitalPhotos.net