5 lies you’ve been telling yourself to delay patent protection

1)  I am too busy – The truth is that if it is important and valuable enough everyone finds time for it. Your IP is an asset, treat it as such! It would be a huge loss if you were to lose out on protecting your intellectual property because you did not feel necessary to spare the time required to work on its protection. 

Just to give you an idea, some of the world’s largest companies invest and value their intangible assets. Below are their Intangible asset value. 

  • Microsoft (US$ 1.90 trillion)
  • Apple (US$ 1.87 trillion)
  • Saudi Aramco (US$ 1.64 trillion)
  • Amazon (US$1.47 trillion)

    source – Global Intangible Finance Tracker (GIFT™) 2021 report

2. It is too expensive – Nothing is cheap or for free. Your intellectual property is a valuable asset, set aside time and money just as you would on any other investment. 

 “When I was planning the business, I spoke with an attorney about a patent for my idea. When I found out that the cost in fees to file for my patent, I decided it was too expensive and not important. Another company quickly came along and copied my idea, and there was nothing I could do about it. Eventually, my business failed and I lost millions of dollars. Suddenly, a few thousand dollars didn’t seem like so much money, and I didn’t feel like such a business genius either”.
– Robert Kiyosaki on not patenting nylon-and-Velcro wallets.

 If you are a Startup company in India, and UDYAM registered, there are reimbursement schemes you can avail of from the Indian government. Look up for details on https://my.msme.gov.in/MyMsme/Reg/COM_Ipgr.aspx

3. It is not patentable – Maybe your invention is patentable or maybe it is not. But you will not know for certain until you at least start the process of filing a patent application. Prior to filing the application, your patent agent will run a “patentability search”. This process checks if there is any prior art/ invention that is closely related to your invention. The result of this will help determine if your patent is novel. Your patent agent will also be able to check if your invention meets all the patentability requirements as laid down by the patent office. Prior to approaching an IP firm, you can identify what inventions you currently have by asking questions like:

  1. Has the problem that you’re trying to address been a long-standing need in the industry?
  2. Does your solution have any new steps, features, or elements that didn’t exist?
  3. Is the solution routine or is it unconventional and out of the box?
  4. Is there any improvement in technology or a technical field?
  5. Is it faster, more efficient, more accurate, and/or cheaper than existing approaches?
  6. Does it have an application in the industry that has economic value?

If your answer is yes to most of these questions, there’s a good chance that you may have an invention, which may be worth patenting. 

4) It is time-consuming – Every valuable action requires time. The time spent on articulating your invention, differentiating it from a prior art, and documenting it with drawings and descriptions, will give you more clarity about what is unique about your invention, and how it is differentiated from competitors. With a proper, timely, and strategic application, you can manage time and also reduce any kind of stress related to last-minute filing. The best practice is to reach out to your chosen patent agent well in advance and provide all necessary information about your invention. Together with your patent agent you can work on the best strategy and begin work on your application without any delay. A strategic patent portfolio creates barriers to entry for competitors and increases the valuation of the company. If this is a reason worthy of your time, you must absolutely spare time for your patent application. 

5)  It is not important – This is the biggest lie to tell oneself!  It is important to protect your intellectual property. Would you leave your valuables unattended out in the open? Of course not! Then why on earth would you leave your invention unprotected for others to copy, distribute and monetize? The value of an early-stage technology startup is hard to determine because you still do not have significant revenue or profits. What you may have is a team, a product, and some potential customers who have shown interest in the proof of concept. Hence, most of the value of your company is intangible.

If you recognise the ‘lies’ which is causing a delay in your patent protection and you are ready to take a step forward towards protecting your Intellectual property, please drop us an email at [email protected]