Quick Summary

Benefits of A Patent: Why Inventors Would Need One

Benefits of A Patent: Why Inventors Would Need One

There are three main benefits to patents:

1. Patents protect more than just your invention

2. Your patent can prevent competitors from getting similar patents

3. Your patent puts you on an equal bargaining ground with bigger competitors.

Benefits of A Patent: Why Inventors Would Need One

3 min read time

I get it; patents are expensive and time-consuming to obtain. You might be tempted to forgo the whole process and instead put your hope in trade secrets or the first-mover advantage.


Before you do, though, consider the following benefits of patenting your inventions. And, if you’re still on the fence, consider finding a patent attorney that offers free consultations. That way, you can see if your specific circumstances call for patent protection.


1) Patents Protect More Than Just Your Invention


Any patent attorney worth her/his salt will draft a patent application that protects not only your specific invention, but also prevents competitors from creating similar solutions to the problems addressed by your invention.


The gold-standard for patents are “goldilocks” patents. Goldilocks patents are the ones that are not so broad they can be easily invalidated, but are not so narrow as to be practically unenforceable. This means that, if you have a good patent attorney, you’ll end up with a patent that protects your invention and a slew of variations of your invention.


If this isn’t incentive enough, consider this also. A well-written patent application can turn into two, three, and even more patents. If you have a patent application that covers a number of variations of your invention, you can keep the application alive through a process called “continuation practice.”


This may enable you to identify competitors’ products made after you filed your patent application that fall within one of the variations of your invention. You can draft new patent applications specifically targeted at these competitors. Once the patent is issued, you can force your competitors to pay royalties, license your patent, or leave the market altogether.


2) Your Patent Can Prevent Competitors from Getting Similar Patents


Again, a skilled and savvy patent attorney will draft a patent application that broadly describes your invention. Even if certain terms or variations of your invention cannot be patented, disclosing those in your patent application establishes what is referred to in patent-ese as “prior art.”


Essentially, prior art is a disclosure that can be used to prevent someone from getting a patent. If a competitor comes up with a variation of your invention, your patent application could be used as prior art to prevent them from getting a patent. And, as outlined below, when you prevent competitors from getting patents, you have significant leverage in the market.


3) Your Patent Puts You on Equal Bargaining Ground with Bigger Competitors


In some ways, having a patent is like having a nuclear missile. When a competitor starts slinging cease-and-desist letters at you, or other threats of patent infringement suits, your best defense is a strong offense. That means slinging your own threats back.


There is nothing more satisfying for an attorney than drafting a letter that reads, “Dear Competitor: We don’t infringe on your patents, but you infringe on ours. Pay up, fool!”


By having your own patent portfolio, you enter the realm of mutually assured destruction. Even when your competitors have larger portfolios, the threat of cross-suits is a strong motivator for settlement. Patent infringement suits are incredibly expensive to litigate (which you should keep in mind as you develop your intellectual property strategy). In most cases, parties prefer to settle rather than slug it out. But if you don’t have any patents, you don’t have any leverage.



Tl;dr: Bottom line is, if you don’t patent your invention, you leave a lot of cheddar on the table for your competitors to gobble up. Not only could you be giving up the potential for several patents, but you leave room for competitors to get patents and end up with no leverage when they come to sue you. So, buck it up and find a way to patent your invention!


Conclusion

Benefits of A Patent: Why Inventors Would Need One

Benefits of A Patent: Why Inventors Would Need One

There are three main benefits to patents:

1. Patents protect more than just your invention

2. Your patent can prevent competitors from getting similar patents

3. Your patent puts you on an equal bargaining ground with bigger competitors.

Next Steps

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