A patent is a right to exclusivity for a product or invention. Depending on the nature of the patent and who issued it, this exclusivity right can apply on a local, national or global scale for a specific period of time (you cannot have a patent forever).
Having these exclusivity rights means no one else can manufacture, import, sell or use your invention for commercial gain until the patent runs out. This can last for many years (20 years in the United States). This comes with a number of benefits, and we have outlined a few of them below that can be a great service to your business.
Your Invention is Protected
When trying to attract investors to fund your business based on your invention, you will have to disclose all the details. This means you will have to show them your product design, prototype or anything relevant that can help them make a decision to back you up. Having a patent puts your mind at ease when disclosing these things because even if the investors reject your idea, they cannot steal your product design or prototype and patent it for themselves. You can even show off your product design and prototype to the world without worrying that others will patent it or copy it as well.
Competition is Reduced
Since you are the only one who is able to manufacture, sell or use your invention for profit, it puts you in a strong market position, depending on which markets you operate in. By reducing competition, you become a key player in any market you enter where the patent applies, whether local or global. You can rest assured knowing that no one will even try to infringe on your patent, as they know doing so will cost them more in litigation than any potential profits they may gain.
High Return on Investments
If there is a demand for your patented invention on markets where the patent applies, you will be able to position yourself as the top supplier since others are excluded from doing so. This gives you the opportunity to charge higher prices and see a high return on investment. The patent product is your intellectual property, and you are allowed charge as much as you want.
Gives You Bargaining Power
Sometimes you can enter into a patent war with another business. Instead of making patent infringement claims against one another, you can enter into a cross-licensing agreement to exchange rights that will benefit both of you. This can work in your favour if you have a strong patent portfolio.
You Can Make Money With the Patent
If you have no desire or are unable to move forward with the patented product, you can sell it to another company and make a profit from that. On the other hand, you can also license that patent to another company that is in a different market and receive royalty payments from the company that bought the license (licensor). This can be a great source of extra income for your company.
As you can see, having a patent comes with a number of advantages and does your business a great service. Patents are an excellent way to protect your invention from others, giving you the ability to milk it for all it is worth without worrying that others will try to compete with you.
Mistakes to avoid
When you have a unique and innovating idea for a product or service, the best thing you can do for your business is to get a patent. Patents provide a couple of benefits, chief among them is that they protect your idea, provide a high return on investment and reduce the amount of competition you will face after launch. Seeing as how a patent is important, it makes all the more sense to get the process of filling for one right. Here are five common mistakes to avoid when trying to obtain a patent for a product you want to sell on global markets.
1. Patenting the Un-patentable
Patenting something usually requires that it be new, inventive (non-obvious) and useful – this is very important to remember, especially in the product design stage. New means that the product you are developing is not known to the public. Inventive means that if a skilled person was to look at your offering, they would not be able to tell what it is. Useful means the product can deliver what it promises in the patent being filed. If your product lacks one of these three things, you cannot patent it.
2. Disclosing Too Much About Your Product or Invention
Before applying for a patent, disclosing some information about the product or invention may be required. You may do this to attract investors and venture capitalists or generate market interest for your product on the global market. Just make sure that the information you share is not too much that it will count as public disclosure (only tell people what they need to know, nothing more). Also, you must make sure that everyone who hears the information signs a non-disclosure agreement (NDA).
3. Thinking the Minute Details are Not Important
Patents have been tossed out before for reasons that seemed small at the time of filing it. This usually happens when two people are battling for the same patent and the other person forgot to include a detail they thought was not all that important, making them lose the patent in the process. To avoid these types of scenarios, explain your offering in great detail. Don’t just focus on its use, describe everything, from the shape to the materials.
4. Being Too Broad
When it comes to filing patents, it is best to be broad so that you do not narrow the applications of your idea – in fact, this is what investors like. But being too broad and ambiguous makes your idea challengeable. For example, someone can say your invention does what an already existing invention does, even if it is something wild and unrelated to the actual functionality of your invention. That is why being specific is important; describing your product and possible uses while leaving no room for interpretation.
5. Taking Long to File the Patent
Filing a patent is a time-sensitive issue, something that should not have to wait until the product is on the global market. You can start the process as early as the product design or prototype stage. Also, keep in mind that doing anything like presenting your product or invention at a trade show or posting it on your website is considered public disclosure. If you do not want this to happen, be secretive about its development until a patent has been filed.
Once your application for a patent is successful, you will not have to worry about anyone else making money off your offering for a while. And that is why being mindful of these mistakes and making sure that you avoid them when filing a patent is paramount to enjoying the benefits that patents provide.