How would you feel if someone stole an idea you spent years and invested tens of thousands of dollars developing? In today’s ultra-dynamic market, piracy and property infringement issues are quite common. So, whether you’ve come up with a revolutionary consumer product or have developed a new cybersecurity business software, you might risk losing your competitive advantage as well as tons of market shares if you’re not vigilant enough. This is where patents come in handy. In the following guide, we will explain what patents are and why it is imperative to protect your newest invention by filing one at the earliest opportunity.
What is a Patent?
In essence, a patent is a type of intellectual property that guarantees the protection of a product, service, design, or process. The owner of said property is given sole ownership, meaning only they can manufacture, market, export, and sell it. Patents are essential across all industries, from automobiles to high tech. According to the business laws in effect in a state or country, a patent will be valid for a limited period, usually around 20 years, after which it must be filed for again. There are 3 main types broken down into utility patents, design patents, and plant patents.
Patent Granting Procedure
Filing for a patent is a notoriously lengthy and costly process. It can take up to two years and cost anywhere between $10,000 and $25,000. That said, these figures shouldn’t discourage you; on the contrary, acquiring a patent will do wonders for your business portfolio by showcasing your potential for innovation and creativity. Now, irrespective of the nature of your invention, it’s important that you refer to your local patent delivery authority to get a comprehensive idea of what is required, essential paperwork, and fees. Remember that, once granted, it’s an investment that will basically pay for itself.
Protection from Copycats
One of the main advantages of having your invention patented is ensuring its protection against intellectual theft. Developing a product or a service is complicated and time-consuming enough without having ill-intentioned individuals copy your idea and profit from it. When it comes to tech services, the IT experts at solutionpartner.com go to great lengths in explaining that a new piece of software, for instance, must always be patented. Information travels fast online, and it would only take a few days for your invention to be duplicated and commercialized. However, if you own the patent to said product, you’ll be able to sue anyone who infringes on your intellectual property rights.
A Sizeable Competitive Advantage
Companies and brands with patented inventions tend to fare relatively better than their unprotected counterparts, on both the commercial and financial fronts. This owes to the fact that a patent grants your business authority. With this, you’ll enjoy a far better market positioning, which will help you capture valuable opportunities to grow your customer base, bring in new investors, expand your operations, and turn a profit. This gives you a leg up over your direct competitors, no matter how niche your industry is.
A common mistake many business owners make is publicizing their inventions too early. Whether it’s in a presentation or a featured article on a public forum, they risk giving off that novelty for others to exploit. Once that’s underway, there isn’t much you can do to prove that you have in fact pioneered that property. By contrast, keeping your invention under the radar until you’ve been delivered a patent places you under the protection of the law. As such, any entity that attempts to duplicate your product or service for commercial purposes exposes themselves to greater legal sanctions, from hefty fines to prison sentences.
Striking Business Deals
Aside from initial expansion, selling or licensing is often the end goal of company owners. Now, what happens to your expensive patents once you decide to part ways with your ventures? In practice, patents can be traded just as any other commodity; you can include it in your licensing deal for a fee and under certain conditions, which grants others the right to exploit your invention or sell the patent altogether at a profit. At this point, you may want to enlist the services of a specialized intellectual property lawyer to help you weigh your options and decide on a course of action.
In a world that thrives on market competition, no business owner or entrepreneur is safe from having their ideas plagiarized and hard work undermined. This is why patents are an extremely useful legal tool that you should use to protect your invention, develop your venture, and fulfill your strategic objectives.