When you have a unique and innovating idea for a product or service, the best thing you can do for your business is to get a patent. Patents provide a couple of benefits, chief among them is that they protect your idea, provide a high return on investment and reduce the amount of competition you will face after launch. Seeing as how a patent is important, it makes all the more sense to get the process of filling for one right. Here are five common mistakes to avoid when trying to obtain a patent for a product you want to sell on global markets.
1. Patenting the Unpatentable
Patenting something usually requires that it be new, inventive (non-obvious) and useful – this is very important to remember, especially in the product design stage. New means that the product you are developing is not known to the public. Inventive means that if a skilled person was to look at your offering, they would not be able to tell what it is. Useful means the product can deliver what it promises in the patent being filed. If your product lacks one of these three things, you cannot patent it.
2. Disclosing Too Much About Your Product or Invention
Before applying for a patent, disclosing some information about the product or invention may be required. You may do this to attract investors and venture capitalists or generate market interest for your product on the global market. Just make sure that the information you share is not too much that it will count as public disclosure (only tell people what they need to know, nothing more). Also, you must make sure that everyone who hears the information signs a non-disclosure agreement (NDA).
3. Thinking the Minute Details are Not Important
Patents have been tossed out before for reasons that seemed small at the time of filing it. This usually happens when two people are battling for the same patent and the other person forgot to include a detail they thought was not all that important, making them lose the patent in the process. To avoid these types of scenarios, explain your offering in great detail. Don’t just focus on its use, describe everything, from the shape to the materials.
4. Being Too Broad
When it comes to filing patents, it is best to be broad so that you do not narrow the applications of your idea – in fact, this is what investors like. But being too broad and ambiguous makes your idea challengeable. For example, someone can say your invention does what an already existing invention does, even if it is something wild and unrelated to the actual functionality of your invention. That is why being specific is important; describing your product and possible uses while leaving no room for interpretation.
5. Taking Long to File the Patent
Filing a patent is a time-sensitive issue, something that should not have to wait until the product is on the global market. You can start the process as early as the product design or prototype stage. Also, keep in mind that doing anything like presenting your product or invention at a trade show or posting it on your website is considered public disclosure. If you do not want this to happen, be secretive about its development until a patent has been filed.
Once your application for a patent is successful, you will not have to worry about anyone else making money off your offering for a while. And that is why being mindful of these mistakes and making sure that you avoid them when filing a patent is paramount to enjoying the benefits that patents provide.