Do I really need a Patent ? is it worth the investment ?
We will go for this question from 2 perspectives
a business owners perspective and
an individual inventors perspective
How getting patent can be relevant to my business?
The most common misbelief about patent is, Patents are given to only ground breaking (landmark) and complex invention that changes the world...
In reality the patents are also granted to incremental inventions !!! Inventions that have novel solution to a technical problem, may that problem be small (but significant to inventive step).
What that means is, most of the part of your solution may be already known to public (that is available in the market, patented or published in journals) but you might have come up with something (an inventive step) that is not an obvious solution to normal person skilled in that domain and solve a very small problem in existing solutions. In this such case the inventor still can win patent for his invention if other patentability criteria’s are mate by his invention
Many inventors getting discouraged by seeing something similar to their invention in the market, published or known to public... what they fail to realize is they may still have novelty and inventive step in their invention although apparently it looks similar to things already known to public.
The way you could do that is find the ways in which your invention is different/ rather better in getting intended results or solving existing problem...
May be you have some of points in your inventions as below:
The elements you used are technically advanced...
Your way to solve the problem is more energy efficient
Your compound may be having more efficacy
Your software or app is doing some advance things to solve a problem than existing solutions
The improvement may seemingly small but it still can win patent if it is novel, non obvious (that is having inventive step) and is having industrial application.
Are Patent only for large corporations with huge research and development budget?
This is one of the most common misunderstandings that probably is the main reason individual inventor although found a patentable invention; fail to protect it with patent. If we consider statistics, most number of granted patents are NOT for Ground breaking scientific invention but to inventions that makes improvements to existing inventions.
Something that improves efficiency or some technical advancement to existing inventions solving some problem definitely could be a patent winning invention
DO I really need Patent for my invention?
Well, you think about it all the time, when you are in deciding phase... Is patent really for me? Is it really worth the investment I needed to do for getting patent in US?
Having a patent on you name for an invention gives you the right to decide if the invention can be used by others and on what terms… In return for this right, the patent owner makes the technical information about invention publically available in the form of patent.
you may also wish to read the ways by which you can make money with your patent. Just like a real estate other forms of property, with the patent (Intellectual property) for your invention you can:
rent it (here it is called licensing your patent )
sell it to some company or business
use it your self
build a business around patented invention
Owning a patent for an invention provides you right to stop others from commercially:
your patented invention, without your consent. In case someone wants to utilize for commercial purpose they need to take your permission (also call licensing of patent) as well as pay you royalties as per the agreement at the time of offering license.
The general term for patent it 20 years from the date of filing the application, provided the renewal fees as paid regularly as directed.
to help you decide as an individual inventor, whether you should go for patenting your invention...
Imagine what it would be like when:
You have exclusive rights for your invention (idea, project, product etc.) and you can stop other from using your invention for commercial purpose for 20 years.
You can make significant Return on your investments that you made for research and development and patenting your invention. By ways like licensing your patent to other companies, building business around your invention, or completely selling it to other company.
You will have better chances of getting funded for your idea, business, product etc. If it is protected by patents, as investors clearly see how they can have monopoly in the market by having patented product for business.
You and /or your business are perceived as an expert in the industry when you have patent. This helps in finding great employees, partners, financers and clients too. Ultimately it enhances your market value.
What if I don’t go for patent and rather invest that money in actual business ?
Now let’s see what happens when you choose not to invest in getting patent and rather use that money somewhere else.
If your invention proven to be having good commercial value and is not protected with the patent it would be free hand for competitors to copy your (invention) product and steal your market by becoming your competition.
Larger corporations will produce it (your invention) on mass scale and will offer same product / service to the market at extremely low prize which you just cannot compete with.
Even smaller companies in some cases can produce the product at low prices with extremely slim profit margins.
And what about selling the patent (transfer of technology) for your invention? Needless to say, if you do not have legal ownership (patent) of your invention, it would be difficult to sell at higher price if at all you could sell it.
In such scenarios, where inventions are not protected by patents, all the parties involved in the technology transfer treat it with continuous fear of getting ripped off by other party and stealing the invention without paying proper price.
And what if someone else gets patent for your invention?
If you did not patent your invention, someone else working in same field may get patent for your (or similar to yours) invention.
This means now, he (person or company) can stop you from commercially exploiting that invention without their consent. You will have to seek the license from him to commercially sell the invention.
So, whether to go for patent or not is a decision that should be based on facts and not to be decided on opinions...
One of the way that can provide you with more time and options to decide whether to go for patenting costs (which are significant) for your invention would be going for "provisional patent application".
provisional applications is very low cost starting point which will give you opportunity to have 12 months of time to judge the commercial worth of the invention by talking to :
Investors for raising funds
companies interested to license your patent or
companies interested in buying your invention
to know more on this check our section on how provisional patent application can help you save costs in initial phases when researching on commercial worth of your invention and deciding on whether to go for entire procedure for patenting your invention.