Guidance for Deciding If Your Idea Requires a Patent

Just about any idea, invention, or innovation can be protected under intellectual property law, and at Brown Patent Law, we can help you through this process. But, should every idea be patented? In some cases, patents simply don’t make sense. Here are a few considerations that will help you determine if your next idea requires a patent.

Size of market

Your first step is to decide whether or not your idea has a market, or demand, large enough for it to be profitable and attractive to competition. In many cases, you will have thought through this area before coming up with your idea, but it doesn’t hurt to do some additional research. Not only does a lack of market make legal protection of your idea unnecessary, it also makes it difficult to reap a return on your investment.

Return on investment

Speaking of your return on investment, or ROI, it’s important to estimate your return before starting the process of obtaining a patent. Just because there’s a market for your idea doesn’t necessarily mean you’re guaranteed to make a profit from it. The process of obtaining a patent can be made more efficient by working with an experienced law firm, but there’s still an investment of both your time and money that must be made. It’s probably unwise to make this initial investment if you’re unlikely to ever make a profit.

Alignment with strategy

If you’re part of an organization with a robust intellectual property portfolio already in place, it will be important to consider how your newest idea fits in with your existing patents and your organizations overall goals. For example, does your idea allow you to streamline a manufacturing process, or create a better product? If so, it’s a simple choice to patent the idea in order to obtain a competitive advantage over other organizations in your space.

Investor potential

Simply stated, intellectual property portfolios can add a significant amount of value to your company. In the eyes of potential investors, an organization that holds many patents on proprietary ideas will be much more attractive than a similar business with no current patents. The patents you hold should be relevant to your business, but if you’re planning to undergo rounds of funding in the near future, that could sway your decision on whether or not your ideas require a patent.

In most cases, you’re likely to find that obtaining a patent is a better option than taking the risks associated with leaving intellectual property unprotected.

For help deciding which of your company’s intellectual property requires legal protection, and expertise provided through each step of the process, contact us at Brown Patent Law by calling 918-615-3357.