Do I Really Need a Patent for My Invention?
When you are deciding on whether to get a patent, you should understand the process thoroughly and approach it like any other business decision. Patents are granted for inventions, not ideas. However, an invention doesn’t need to be a physical product. If you have a well-defined pathway from an idea to a physical product, you can file a patent for it.
Understanding the Patent
In the United States, patents are granted by the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO). When you file a patent for an invention, you get the right to benefit from your invention exclusively for 17 years counting from the date of grant. If someone infringes on your patent, you can take them to court and claim damages. However, every country in the world has their own regulations and processes. So, the US patent doesn’t automatically give you worldwide rights to an invention. If you want to own the rights in other countries, you’ll have to file separate patents with the regulatory boards of those countries.
Types of Patents
For the US, there are three types of patents you can file:
Utility Patents: These are applicable for most inventions. Technical documents are used to explain the ins and outs of the novel device or technology.
Design Patents: These are used to protect aesthetics, style or ornamental side of a product. For example, a company like Apple can file patents to protect the unique looks of their products.
Plant Patents: These patents apply to biological plants produced through various genetic or other scientific means.
Before Getting a Patent
Evaluate your invention before you consider obtaining a patent. You can take the following steps:
Patent Research: Find out if anyone else has already obtained a patent. The patent database is available to the public. So, you can search it yourself or get the help of a patent professional.
Prototype: If your idea is unique, then you should try to create a prototype to try out the idea. It will give you an understanding of the viability of the product.
Market Research: Check out the market for your product to figure out if there is a demand.
Cost Analysis: Research the materials necessary to bring the product to market, so you have an idea of the investment necessary to manufacture it at scale.
Pros of Getting Patents
Besides the joy of being a patent owner, here are some practical reasons to get a patent:
Revenue Stream for Your Business: A patent transforms your invention into an intellectual property. It means you can sell it or license it. It becomes an asset and can create a viable stream of revenue. If you are looking for investors, patents make your business more valuable which increases your bargaining power.
Protects You Against Competition: When you are starting a business, competitors can crush your efforts. But a patent eliminates the competition. For 17 years counting from the date of grant, you are the only entity that can produce your invention. This gives you an advantage over anyone in the market.
Cons of Patents
You should be aware of these issues:
Time and Money: Filing a patent takes time and expertise. The costs can add up. Talk to an expert who can help you understand the process.
Patents Are Not Automatic Protection: Patents don’t protect you from copycats and unauthorized use automatically. There isn’t any patent police to monitor infringement. If you discover infringers, it’s your responsibility to take them to court.
The Final Verdict
Patents will help you protect your invention. If you have enough resources, there is no doubt you should get a patent. However, if you are stretched for resources, then make sure you investigate the possible profitability of your invention before you dive into obtaining a patent.
At EPIC Research & Development, we believe in exploring creative impulses. Our experts are knowledgeable about various industries. They can help you transform your ideas into reality and answer any questions about getting a patent for your invention. Contact us today.
Should you patent your product or idea? [https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HhlPcjTSzTc]