When you innovate something, your main goal is to either spread the word, obtain profit or sell the product without allowing plagiarism, infringement, or discrediting to occur. This is where patents come into play as it creates a barrier from the competitors. We all know how disappointing it is when someone tries to sell your idea as theirs. With the growth of information technologies as well as knowledge-driven sectors, intangible assets are gaining more value in comparison to physical ones. Patents provide property rights that only the owner can exploit. Not only does it let you safeguard your invention but also creates a positive image for your enterprise, returns a higher profit for your investment, licensing and selling of patent rights lets you gain additional income, and enhances the ability to acquire finance at a reasonable rate.
Before filing a patent, it is important to do your research regarding previous innovations or products that may resemble yours, also known as “prior art”. Ensure that your invention meets the requirements such as novelty, inventive step, and industrial applicability.
Since a patent is a license containing specific rights granted for a set period of time (20 years), you may need to renew your application after a few years. Hence, maintaining it requires resources including time and money.
The process may take as long as two to four years. There is a time gap between when you first file it to when you receive your patent so it is important to get started at the earliest and to stay updated to avoid any exploitation.
Another thing to consider is the fact that patents are region-based, that is, they’re only protected in the countries that they’re filed in and not worldwide. It is best to get your startup’s invention patented in as many places as required in order to have all of the possible benefits.
Every country has a fixed set of laws and standards based on which it may grant or disregard a patent. Thus, a patent being granted in one country does not guarantee its qualification in the other country.
Disclosure of Information
A very important thing to note is that the details of your invention will be available to the public after registering. People may use this information to develop new creations. However, no one will be able to make money or gain recognition purely out of recreating your idea which is very advantageous.
Components of a Patent Application
A patent application consists of a title, introduction, background art, short description of the invention and figures, detailed description, claims, and diagrams. Every necessary feature should be mentioned. Failing to do so will result in that characteristic or trait being unprotected.
To safeguard its novelty from getting disrupted, no publication should be released, no products incorporating the invention should be sold, and no lecture or presentation should be done except under a non-disclosure agreement prior to filing.
An inventive step means that the invention should not be obvious to a skilled person in that field. It should preferably provide a technical solution to a technical problem.
Industrial applicability states that the invention should be of some use in an industry
What A Patent Does
The legal rights conferred by patents do not extend to acts done privately for non-commercial purposes and acts done for experimental purposes.
The monopoly yielded by a patent lets the owner to control who makes, uses, sells, or imports/exports the patented invention, receives compensation for infringement, and seeks an injunction against further violation.
Difference Between Discovery and Invention
Discovery is different from invention in the sense that it stands for learning about or ascertaining the existence of something previously unknown or unrecognized whereas inventing is the creation of something which did not exist before it was made.
Discoveries, mathematical theories, inventions contrary to morality, therapeutic and diagnostic methods, methods of doing business, already existing varieties of plants and animals, and so on are exceptions to patentability.
Note that having a strong and well-structured IP portfolio indicates the specialization, expertise, technological capacity, and creditworthiness of your company to business partners, investors, lenders, etc. Strict action can be taken against imitators or free-riders. It eliminates many negative consequences of introducing your innovation to the world. It can be said that getting a patent filing is an all-in-one method to increase your status in the marketplace, so what are you waiting for? Start your IP journey before it’s too late to end up with fruitful results.
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