Do you have an idea for a product or service? Have you invented a product or service that you’re trying to get to market? Do you need help securing credit for your product or service?
If the answer to any of these questions is yes, then you need a patent. The United States Patent and Trademark Office receives more than 500,000 patent applications a year and in the 12 industries where patents are being used successfully, 50 percent or more of the inventions that meet the criteria for becoming patented are being patented successfully.
Here are four benefits to filing a patent:
- Protecting Your Work: Many times in the course of their work, inventors may look for investors to give them cash infusions to help turn their dreams into reality. Funding is important, but if an inventors provides details of an invention to an investor without filing a patent application, the inventor may find himself/herself up the river without a paddle. Without a patent application filed, the investor or someone else is free to file an application for the same idea.
Filing a patent application and obtaining a patent pendency ensures that you will receive the proper credit for your idea. The last thing you want is to put in months or years of hard work only for someone to swoop in and take credit for your idea.
Keep in mind that a new patent has a term of around 20 years from the application filing date and to keep a patent valid, a patent holder is required to pay maintenance fees. A provisional patent application costs $65 through the USPTO and a non-provisional patent application runs about $400.
- Less Competition: Filing a patent and getting a patent pendency allows helps to reduce competition among others who may have a similar idea and are thinking about entering the market. This is known as a barrier to entry, which helps discourage competitors from engaging in patent infringement.
- More Money: If you’re got a product that is going to heat up once it hits the market, filing a patent ensures that no one else but you will be able to create, market and sell the invention in the United States. Having the patent for a product allows the inventor to control the process and also set the market price for their product.
- Expansion: Having a patent for your invention also allows you the power to expand or not expand the market for your product. If you invent your product and sell it on the east coast, you as the patent holder can decide to expand sales of your product to other areas of the country. Additionally, it allows you to license your product to other areas of the country and receive royalty payments on the production process and the final product.
With so much to keep track of and properly file, a patent lawyer can be of great benefit. A patent lawyer can help ensure that all of your patent paperwork is in order and a patent lawyer can also help you navigate the path of expanding your market share or settling patent disputes. In litigation disputes between two parties with similar patent claims, a patent lawyer can help the two sides work out a dispute and in some cases two owners of different patents may agree to work with one another.
If you’re on the fence about hiring a patent lawyer, know that you don’t necessarily need to have a patent attorney sign a confidentially agreement before you tell him/her what your invention is. Codes of conduct dictate that patent attorneys keep information confidential, but it always pays to do research to find the right patent attorney for your needs.