If you have invented a unique product that you think is commercially viable, you should consider getting a patent to secure your rights to use it exclusively. With a patented product, you are granted the right to prevent other people from commercially exploiting your product. No one can sell, produce, import, or use your idea without prior consent. This applies in countries where you own patent rights. A patent gives you the right to gain profit from your invention by using it, allowing others to use it through a licensing agreement, or having it mass produced for public distribution.
Advantages and Disadvantages of Getting a Patent
Following are the advantages that come with having patent rights:
You can prevent other people or businesses from manufacturing, replicating, selling, or importing your invention without securing your permission. If your patent rights are infringed, you can file a case against the offender with the USPTO.
First to Invent
Being a patent holder comes with the privilege of being considered as the invention owner. While someone else may have come up with the idea earlier, but did not bother to have his product patented, you will be considered the first to invent. It is therefore important to make sure that as soon as you come up with a potentially marketable product idea, you perform a patent search to make sure that you have a patentable product that you can explore and develop further. This can potentially save you a lot of money and effort in the future.
Set Period of Protection
Your patent becomes official as soon as your application is approved by the USPTO. Your ownership rights are protected for the entire duration of the patent, which is usually 20 years. You have exclusive rights that you can use either for your personal benefit or for your business to gain an edge over your competitors.
There are different ways by which you can use your patent to gain financially, including:
- Allowing other people or businesses to use your invention under licensing agreements – Many companies today have been set up specifically to account for, and collect royalties earned through licensing their patents.
- Selling your invention as is
- Mass-producing your invention for general consumption
On the other hand, there are also some disadvantages to having your invention patented. These include:
Divulging Critical Technical Information
By filing an application for patent, you risk making some crucial technical information about your product publicly available. It is possible that keeping confidential information may be more beneficial to you if kept away from prying eyes such as your competitors. Even if your competitors cannot copy your patented product, they can easily find other ways to neutralize it.
Complex and Time-Consuming Process
The entire patent application process requires a lot of effort and time. In some cases, it can take up to 3 years before your application is approved. Modern technology advances at a very rapid pace. At the rate it is going, by the time your patent is granted, newer and more technologically-advanced products may have already been released to the public by the competition.
Regardless of whether your application for patent is approved or denied, you would have spent a considerable sum of money by the time the entire process is done. Items you have to spend for include the cost for the patent application itself, patent search, patent lawyer’s fees
- High Cost – Whether your patent application is successful or not, it will cost you a significant amount of money. The total cost for a single patent application includes the fee for the application itself, cost to search for existing patents for similar inventions, and the patent attorney’s fees, among others.
While you can opt to file your patent application on your own and without the help of a patent lawyer, it may ultimately cost you more in the long term. The patent process entails a lot of legal steps, statutes, and procedures that need to be complied with that are best handled by a lawyer. There is a good chance that you will miss out on some of the requirements. Although there are no guarantees, having a lawyer to draft and file your application for you will help increase your chances of getting a patent.