If you believe that you have come up with a unique idea that may be worth capitalizing on, then it is no surprise if you are wondering whether or not you should patent it. What are the advantages of a patent? What are the drawbacks? The patent system in the United States has a lot of different compelling reasons that someone may want to consider applying for a patent, but the process is notoriously complicated.
There are patent attorneys like The Patent Professor® who focus entirely on patent law and helping clients through the process of getting their patent submitted and approved, but how can you decide if a patent is worth it for you or not? Take a look at these differing points below, and maybe you can decide for yourself. Otherwise, it probably is not a bad idea to talk to a pro about your idea, what you plan to do with it, and get a better idea from them about whether or not a patent is a good idea.
Patents Can Give You A Competitive Advantage
If you are starting a company with a consumer product at its center, then having a patent for your product is definitely a good idea. Enforcing patents in court can be a difficult and drawn-out process, but having a patent is also a great way to give your company authority in your field.
When you are marketing an unpatented product, people are likely to be wary of the quality, usefulness, and originality. A patent issued by the USPTO sends a clear signal that a dedicated American office has determined that your product is—at the very least—new, novel, and useful.
Patents Protect You From Major Companies
Hopefully, you will never need to take someone to court over patent infringement, but if you do, you will be happy that you have legal rights over your intellectual property. This is especially true in the case of major companies. If you are a small company with a single, innovative patent and you find that a major corporation has taken your idea and pumped millions of dollars into its development without licensing your idea, then you have legal options to pursue a resolution.
In most cases, the legal department of a major corporation will advise against infringing on a patent and instead will pursue options for licensing or a complete transfer with the patent holder.
Patents Add Value During an Acquisition
If you are developing a product, and a company around said product, that you plant o grow aggressively, then there is always the hope of being acquired by a major company in the back of your mind. Having a patent for your idea means that when a major company decides they want to utilize your idea, they need to decide what the most appropriate solution is. In some cases, as in with the patents held by GPS app Waze, a company like Google may decide that the best decision is to acquire the company in order to bring the patent into their own portfolio.
Of course, the cases of tech firms like Waze are rare, but if you believe that you are developing a truly innovating and useful piece of intellectual property, realize that having legal protection can be the difference between selling your IP and simply watching it be replicated by a company with incredibly deep pockets.