The patent process can be involved and it comes with specific costs. Therefore, before you get a patent, you should carry out a few tasks to ensure that getting a patent is right for you, your company and your invention or intellectual property.
Here are four things to do before you apply:
Research your potential patent thoroughly: Even if you’ve never heard of your idea, and even if you’ve thoroughly searched the internet for mention of a similar idea, it doesn’t mean that your patent won’t infringe on someone else’s. Only by conducting thorough preliminary patent research can you determine if your idea is fresh enough and new enough that it won’t conflict with an already existing one.
Create a prototype: Before you invest in a patent, you want to make sure that your idea is functional and worthy of one. This will ensure that you have finalized your design and the patent you create will cover the actual design you plan to bring to market.
Conduct market research: Try to determine the potential market for your invention or intellectual property. If your product is not commercially viable, it may not be worth the investment in a patent.
Estimate manufacturing costs: This is another important point in determining the viability of your idea and whether it’s worth the investment in a patent.
An experienced Irvine patent lawyer can assist you in carrying out all the above tasks. As such, even if you’re not ready to move forward with your patent — and you only have a great idea — it could still be worth it to speak with a patent lawyer to help you with these vital prepatent steps.
Source: Entrepreneur, “To Patent or Not to Patent?” Oct. 27, 2017