There’s an incorrect assumption that a patent is only for inventors of strange, new gadgets. In reality, many businesses could benefit from holding patents, and not just those involved in manufacturing or technology. The United States Patent Office explains that a patent is designed to protect any intellectual property from being copied or used by others. This covers not only physical products, but also communication implementation, cutting edge processes, even innovative business methods.
Obtaining a Patent
Applying for patents can be a simple process. In fact, you can probably complete the necessary applications entirely online. There are three different types of applications you can file depending on what type of property you want to protect:
- Design Patent: To protect ornamental characteristics of your work.
- Utility Patent: Covers machines, manufactured products, processes, and new compositions. This is by far the most common type.
- Plant Patent: Cover, according to the USPTO, a “new variety of asexually produced plant.”
The Numerous Advantages of Patents
The benefits of filing for a patent on behalf of your business are clear. First, a patent offers protection against competitors, at least for the length of the patent. The United States Small Business Administration reminds entrepreneurs that a patent isn’t just to protect the property from competition. Holding a patent gives the developer time to recoup some of their research and development costs and recover from the financial blow this process often wreaks. By retaining exclusivity, the inventor can ensure the product or process remains valuable. This also gives the originating business ample opportunity to build customer loyalty, before the patent expires, and others are free to design, distribute, or otherwise utilize that idea.
Patents can also be useful in saving company time and resources. For instance, if a search is conducted prior to beginning implementation for some new product or method, and it’s discovered that a patent for that idea has already been filed, it could prevent months or even years of unnecessary research and development. Taking this precaution could also potentially help avoid any possible costly infringement lawsuits. This search is a simple process and can be conducted on the United States Patent and Trademark Office website.
Another reason to consider incorporating patents into an organization is that holding patents often increases the overall value of a business. They are assets that generally increase in worth over time, which adds to a company’s net worth as well, making it more attractive to potential investors. Alternatively, patents can be sold for a flat (very high) fee to an eager buyer or licensed to other interested parties for a percentage of their future sales. Either way, patents can open new roads to profit and contribute to a company’s stability.
Patents, trademarks, and copyrights work together to protect the financial and intellectual stock invested in your business. Proper research and implementation of these tools can contribute to continued fiscal success while encouraging future growth. With the process for obtaining a patent being made increasingly more convenient, there is no reason not to apply.