PATENTS V. Should I Get a Patent?
Whether you wish to invest the time and finances to obtain a patent is a business decision. The criteria that you use to make such a business decision can vary depending on your circumstances. Securing a patent is a time consuming, not inexpensive, process which from start to finish typically can cost from $7500.00 to $20,000.00 or more, depending in part on the fees charged by a patent attorney.
One approach to consider in deciding whether to proceed with a patent is to evaluate whether you have a good chance of making money on your invention. The criteria you use to make such an evaluation can vary. Some possible criteria that you may, or may not, elect to utilize are size of the market, makeup of the market, technical complexity of the invention, existing competition, design around ability of competitors, market life, and marketing.
A. Size of Market.
A small market of customers often makes it more difficult to market an invention. A large market can be more conducive to successfully marketing an invention.
B. Makeup of Market.
A market comprised of or dominated by large companies can make it difficult to successfully market an invention.
C. Technical Complexity.
As the technical complexity of an invention increases, the likelihood of being able to market successfully the invention often decreases. It is more difficult to market successfully a new jet engine than it is to market a new toy like a hula hoop.
D. Existing Competition.
If a new invention doesn't have features that make it better than existing products in the marketplace, it can be more difficult to successfully market the invention.
E. Design Around Ability.
It may be possible to patent a new invention, while at the same time appearing that the patent can be easily circumvented by competitors because the patentable features of the invention are not important to consumers. In such a case, it may not make sense to secure a patent.
F. Market Life.
Some products have a short market life. Since it often takes two or more years to obtain a patent, it may not make sense to secure a patent if the market life of the product is short.
Marketing a new product can be a difficult proposition. An inventor may not have had time to develop a good marketing plan. A good marketing plan can be essential to the successful sale of an invention.
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