A patent can be an effective way to protect your business in various scenarios. It is specifically applicable to businesses or individuals with an invention or intellectual property they need to protect. Once granted, the patent legally prohibits other people from copying, distributing, selling, or using your intellectual property without your permission.
In most cases and places, the patent remains valid for a considerable period and you may need to renew it from time to time. Patents can also be sold or licensed to other people by the owner.
Simply put, the advantages that come with patenting are many. If you have a unique product, intellectual property, or invention, you may risk huge amounts of money in losses to competitors and copycats by not having a patent. Applying for one is paramount, sooner rather than later.
Here’s what you need to know about applying for a patent.
1. You’ll Need Legal Assistance
Drafting a patent application is not your everyday cup of tea. It’s often complicated and strenuous. Moreover, your application can easily be rejected or even stolen before you file for it.
That is why most inventors prefer hiring a patent attorney to draft and file the patent application. With the help of expert patent lawyers, you’ll avoid making any mistakes or errors and quicken the process. In addition to patent registration, a good patent attorney can also help you with other legal issues surrounding patents, including licensing, infringement, and patentability opinion.
Also worth noting, is that you cannot get a patent if your invention has been publicly disclosed. While hiring an attorney will cost you handsomely, the reward is higher since they can also help you perform the searches related to your idea or invention. This brings us to the next important point.
2. Research Is Key
Needless to reiterate, the patenting process doesn’t usually come easy. Whether your invention is in fashion or design, utility, or art, no patent comes served on a silver platter. To make the process easy, it is always important to start by conducting thorough research to ensure that the invention is new, and no one has the same product as yours.
Simply start by perusing through the internet and check out publications on scientific and technical journals. Visit the patent and trademark library to find out if there are any related inventions. If you happen to come across a patent close to yours, be ready to defend it, and prove how your patent improves or differs from the earlier inventions.
3. Qualifying for Patent Protection
Acquiring a patent is one major step to securing unique exclusive rights for your work. However, protecting an invention is no joke… it is time-sensitive. You will need to move as fast as possible to secure your rights before someone else claims they brewed the same idea before you or allege that you stole their concept.
You will need to prove your invention based on how it works, what it does, and so forth. This could be perhaps through diagrams, videos, and other illustrations, where necessary. You cannot get a patent just by describing the concept.
This means ensuring that your invention is new and that you don’t share it with someone. This can help prevent your application from being disqualified by the patent examiners. A patent can be rejected due to various reasons, including failing originality. This is all the more reason to ensure your work is unique and unexplored before applying for a patent.
4. What Kind Of Patent Do You Need?
You cannot apply for a patent blindly. You first need to determine the type of intellectual property protection best suits you. There are different types of patents, including the utility, design, and plant patents. For instance, a design patent protects how an invention looks and is more ornamental.
On the other hand, a plant patent protects certain types of plant species that you might have discovered. After enlightening yourself on this, it becomes easier to determine the kind of protection to go for based on your invention.
Finally, you have to be cognizant of the budgeting part. Patent budgeting is notoriously compounded and may be quite challenging to get right. For you to arrive at workable estimates in figures, you will need some in-depth knowledge of the likely costs to be incurred in the whole process.
The process of protecting your invention can be quite costly, but you must be generous enough to ensure your efforts do not work against you at the end of the day. If you have a constricted budget, it may not make sense to pursue the invention. This is because each step will require money. Be prepared to dig deeper into your pockets.