How to Decide Whether to File a Patent

You’ve invented a smart new gadget or you have an idea for a revolutionary new product. What should you do to protect your idea from being stolen and used by someone else? Should you file a patent? A patent can be an effective method of protecting your invention, but is it completely right for you? Find out more about investing in a patent and deciding whether it is a good idea for your business and product.

Look at Your Idea with Critical Eyes

Yes, you may believe that your idea is the best thing ever. Your friends may say it is, too. But you also need to be clear about whether your idea is viable in a business sense. Will it actually make you any money? Look very closely at your target market. Look at the competition. Investigate how you will develop your product and how you will get income from this development. It is wonderful to develop a great idea, but if it does not have any traction in the market place it is not worth getting a patent for it.

Do Your Patent Research

Find out first whether you have a unique idea and that you are not infringing an existing patent. In order to find this out you need to do a preliminary patent search. You can do this yourself or it may be better to hire a professional, for example, to help you out.

Develop Your Prototype

Before filing for a patent, or even before deciding whether a patent is a good idea, you should develop the prototype of the product which will allow you to test its capabilities as well as give you the design for the product which you will need for the final patent application.

Do Your Research

Look at how large the market is for your product. And look at how much it will cost to manufacture your product. Both these answers will determine whether it is a commercially viable product. If it is not, you will not stand to benefit from a patent.

Benefits of Patents

When you have a patent it means your product will be protected by law and you will have protection if someone decides to infringe your patent by producing their own version of your design. You will be able to sell your product more securely knowing this protection is in place. And if you want to license your product to another company then you will get extra bargaining power if your product is patented.

Image courtesy of Stuart Miles/

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March 26, 2017