It’s not simple to decide whether or not to file a patent application. In the minds of the founders, there may be a slew of unanswered questions. Will the innovation be successful? Will my new product be well-received by customers? What if it doesn’t work out?
The problem stems from the unpredictability of the future. If you were certain that your new product would be a tremendous success, filing for a patent would be a simple decision. However, you do not and cannot foresee what will happen in the future. You can’t promise success any more than a patent attorney can guarantee that your patent will be approved.
What are some of the bad reasons to file a patent?
For smaller businesses and startups, the choice to patent may have less to do with the likelihood of success and more to do with the benefits of having a patent-pending. Before digging into those advantages, it’s worth considering some good reasons not to file for a patent. Here are a few reasons why you should not file for a patent:
- You believe that licensing your patent-pending idea will generate a lot of money even though you don’t have any serious potential licensees contemplating a deal;
- you believe that no one else has thought of a similar concept because you don’t see any similar products currently on the market;
- you assume that a design patent will cover a product that is currently on the market;
- You assume that a design patent will cover a product that is currently on the market.
What are the bad reasons for not filing a patent?
Many prevalent misconceptions about patents might lead to bad decisions when it comes to deciding whether or not to pursue patent protection. Here are some reasons why you shouldn’t file a patent application:
- patents are too expensive to enforce or litigate;
- my brand is sufficient to protect my product in the marketplace;
- you assume your concept is not worth protecting because it’s too simple;
- you believe competitors will not copy you;
- You don’t see the value of patent-pending.
Let’s look at some positive reasons for filing a patent application now that we’ve looked at some bad reasons for filing a patent application.
What are some solid considerations to consider when considering whether or not to patent something?
We spoke about why patents are important to startups. In addition to those considerations, potential patent filers should be aware of the following factors:
- more cost-effective ways to enforce patent rights through IP enforcement programs by e-commerce platforms;
- the marketing value of proprietary technology or product;
- Boosting the value of your company for a potential acquisition or merger.
When is it appropriate to submit a patent application?
If you’ve concluded that submitting a patent is worthwhile, you’ll need to act quickly. If feasible, you should try to file as soon as possible under the first-to-file criterion. If you must delay, the US allows you a one-year grace period from the date of your first public revelation, while other nations may not allow you any grace period at all.