Many companies and inventors are often focussed on “if” they can obtain a patent for an invention (i.e. is the invention patentable – at least novel etc.). However, perhaps are more pertinent question to ask is “should” a patent be filed (even if the patent is likely to be granted).
Below we have put together a “rule of thumb” list of factors to assist companies and inventors decide if they “should” file a patent. It is noted the list below assumes that the invention would likely be patentable.
Factors that Indicate a Patent Should be Filed
- You are seeking investment or R&D Grants and wish to use the patent application to leverage investment or Grants
- Your invention improves or replaces an existing technology that already sells well
- The invention may be easily copied by reverse engineering
- The invention has the potential to generate revenue of greater than $25,000 to $100,000 over the first 5 to 10 years in the market;
- The invention is an improvement on a competitors product and the patent may disrupt your competitor
- The invention is an improvement on your own product and will assist to “ever-green” your product
- The invention will be of interest to an already active company in the market and that company would likely be interested in licensing or buying your patent and/or invention
- You are thinking of selling your company and a patent will add value to the company
Factors that Indicate a Patent Should Not be Filed
- The invention has a very short market life span (for example 1 to 2 years or less)
The invention is expected to only sell in small quantities and, for example, generate less that $10,000 over the first 5 years in the market place
The invention can be protected as a “trade secret” (treat this with caution)
Your invention does not really offer any advantage over existing products in the market place
You have insufficient funds for a professionally prepared patent (we recommend to not disclose your invention until you have the funds for a professional patent attorney to prepare and file your patent application)
We hope the factors above are of assistance and, of course, if you would like to help you decide whether or not you “should” or “can” file a patent – then please get in touch to arrange a patent strategy session.