Yes, you do need a patent.
While it is important to consider solutions other than patents for adding value to your business, it is clear that patents are among the best (I would even venture to say the best) way to accomplish this. There are definitely no downsides to acquiring patents for your business. Having one or more patents can instead give you several advantages, such as:
- Exclusive rights – Patents provide exclusive rights, which your business to use and exploit the invention for up to twenty years from the date of filing of the patent application. These exclusive rights can be used for a variety of purposes.
- Strong market position – Through these exclusive rights, you can prevent others from commercially using your patented invention, thereby reducing competition and establishing yourself as an important player in the market (assuming there is an existing or emerging market for your invention). Further, chances are that if you do not patent your invention, someone else will, eventually. If that happens, you may not only have competition in your market, but you could even lose your rights to compete at all.
- Higher returns on investments – Often people have invested significant amounts of money and time in developing innovative products. The exclusive rights you are given by a patent can allow you to obtain higher returns on these investments.
- Opportunity to license or sell the invention – If you chose not to exploit the patent yourself, you may sell it or license the rights to commercialize it to another company, which will function as a source of income for your business.
- Increase your negotiating power – If your business is in the process of acquiring the rights to use the patents of another enterprise, for example, through a licensing contract, your existing patents can be used enhance your bargaining power. Alternatively, you could enter into a cross licensing arrangement where the patent rights could be exchanged between your business and the other.
- MAD (‘mutually assured destruction’) – Large organizations often work on ‘what if’ patent war scenarios. Therefore, they tend to collect and build massive patent portfolios that will probably never be used in any other way than to deter other organizations from litigating them.
- Positive image for your enterprise – Business partners, investors and shareholders often perceive patent portfolios as a demonstration of the high level of expertise, specialization and technological capacity within your business. This may prove useful for raising funds, finding business partners and raising your business’ market value. Patents are often seen by investors as an indication of value and growth potential.
- Improving public perception of your products – Describing products as ‘patented’ offers value in the eye of many consumers. The ‘patented’ or ‘patent pending’ designation conveys an image of high quality, technologically advanced and highly innovative. Some companies deliberately choose to drag on the process of patenting as long as possible without really being interested in obtaining a granted patent, just so they can say they are ‘patent pending,’.
- “Personal glory” reasons – sometimes individuals file patent applications because of scientific or industrial career aspirations and without any real business reasons. It can often look impressive to a prospective employer to be named as an inventor on one or more patents.
This is a selection of important reasons to take into account when applying for a patent, because each reason may affect the way in which the patent application is drafted, and in particular how the patent claims (which define the scope of protection for your invention) are crafted. They also affect the type of applications you file and how you efficiently create a “patent landscape” that best will protect your business.
Mollborn Patents | Patent Protection Made Easy
Fredrik Mollborn has been helping companies protect their intellectual assets since 1997 in the U.S. and abroad. If you are looking to secure your intellectual property, reach out to Mollborn Patents for a consultation.