There are many good things that come with finishing an invention you spent a lot of hard work and time on, but there are also some more time-consuming things, like filing for a patent. You must consult with a patent attorney to decide if you need a patent or not before you give any more of your time to this invention.
A Patent Attorney Can Advise if You Can or Should Get a Patent
What is the first thing that you would worry about after you have finished inventing something? Your biggest worry would naturally be regarding the safety of your invention. That is, how you can protect your invention from being copied or stolen. Well, this doesn’t have to be the case.
If you look at your idea as an opportunity and not an invention, then you might be able to see it on a much broader horizon.
So whether you should get a patent for your idea should be based on the best business strategy for your invention. Before we dive right into it, let us first talk about what exactly a patent is and what it can do for you.
A patent is an exclusive right given by the Government for the sole ownership of any process, new invention, or design for a defined period of time. It also allows the patent-holder to utilize that invention commercially until the patent validity is over. A patent is a valuable tool, but before you invest large amounts of money over a patent, you should make sure that it is necessary for your invention.
The truth is, only 2% to 3% patented products ever hit the market. This does not mean that you should completely abandon the idea of getting a patent. Deciding whether you can get a patent is a legal matter, whereas whether you should get a patent is a business decision.
So what is the first step towards making the right choice? Figuring out whether you can patent your invention can be made simple by hiring a qualified patent attorney. He will thoroughly evaluate your invention to identify its business value. He will research extensively to form a good understanding of your product, your target audience, and your competitors. You could, of course, do this process yourself but to avoid a biased opinion, an intellectual property lawyer or patent lawyer is your best bet. This can help you avoid spending a lot of money, time and energy on a product that is not worth it at all.
There are various other factors that also need to be looked into to determine if your product can be patented.
Do a patent research – Before a patent is issued to the inventor, a patent search must be carried out. This is to determine whether the invention is unique or not. Only then will the invention be qualified to receive a patent. A patent search is conducted by a patent lawyer through the USPTO database of formerly issued patents. The search is done to avoid infringement on someone else’s patent.
Build a Prototype – Developing a basic prototype of your product will not just clear up any kinks or shortcomings, but will also ensure that you have a design that is ready to go when you file for a patent.
Estimate the Market – Figure out your market and determine its extent. Your product may end up being a financial liability if your market is too small.
Manufacturing expenses – Estimate what it will cost to manufacture your product. If the cost of production is higher than the cost of sale, then your product may not be commercially viable.
Once you have established that your product is a patent-able one, then the next thing to consider is if you should get it patented on not. Patenting your product has got a number of benefits. If you plan to manufacture and sell your product, a patent can help you outline strategies in all areas of the product especially design, production, and marketing.
A patent can also provide you with the assurance that your product is protected by law against infringement. Even while licensing your product to another company, a patent can prove to be a valuable asset during negotiation. The only drawback is that your patent protection is limited.
If someone infringes on your patent, you will have to spend a lot of time and money to be able to resolve the situation. Also, patent claims do not make it impossible for anyone to legally design a product like yours with a few minor changes.
Before deciding whether to file for a patent or not, ask yourself these vital questions:
- Do I have a good idea/invention?
- Can this idea be protected with a trade secret which costs lesser or a patent which is more expensive?
- Is there an effective way to monetize this idea?
- Will the cost of the patent be compensated by the product’s business potential down the line?
- Does this product have a market?
- Is the product economical?
Once you have answered these questions, a good intellectual property lawyer will be able to give you recommendations or views on these issues, based on their previous experience and technical background.
The legal team of Paul & Paul will help with answering all your queries of whether you should or shouldn’t file a patent. Get in touch with one of our intellectual property lawyers in Philadelphia at 866-975-7231.