There’s a lot of information out there on if your idea can be patented and how to do it. While this information is most definitely useful, what it doesn’t tell you is if your idea should be patented. Many large organizations may have strategies to patent any idea which comes along, but for companies just starting out or scaling to growth, it can be more difficult to tell if it’s necessary to protect ideas with patents and it can be tempting not to as a means to save a little cash.
Here are some things to look at to see if an idea should be patented, once you know that it can be:
Before all else, you need to determine if this idea has a market and how big that market is. Market translates to demand, so without a market, it doesn’t matter if you protect your idea or not because no one will have any incentive to compete. That also means no one will have any incentive to use your product and you will experience little to no return on your investment.
Return on investment
Choosing to patent your idea requires considerable investment in both capital and time. From searching patent databases to make sure your idea is unique, to hiring patent lawyers, to paying for the patent itself, the whole process takes dedication and resources. Make sure your idea is worth this effort by completing an estimated return on investment analysis.
For companies who already have an intellectual property portfolio, it’s important to evaluate subsequent ideas based on how well they align strategically with the organization’s goals. If an idea will add long term value to the organization by creative a more dynamic product offering, it is likely the best choice to patent that idea to secure competitive advantage.
Attraction for investors
Robust intellectual property portfolios make scaling companies more attractive to potential outside investors. If your company is looking to undergo rounds of funding, obtaining patents for proprietary ideas can help your company look more valuable than companies competing for investment without intellectual property.
More often than not, patenting your idea is likely the better choice. A patent helps protect your idea from infringement, gain competitive advantage, adds marketing value, and creates a cornerstone for the rest of your intellectual property portfolio. To learn more about the benefit that patents and other intellectual property adds to your scaling company, read the ebook: 4 Ways Emerging Companies Can Leverage IP for Business Success.