Should You Patent Your Invention?

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If you have invented something you think will be marketable then you should be thinking about obtaining a patent for your invention.  When you think your invention is going to make money you want to be sure  you will be the one to profit from your idea.  You want to wait to file for your patent until you invention is fully developed.  However, you don’t want to wait too long.  In the United States you have only 1 year to file for a patent once your invention goes public.

Without a patent if someone else learns of your invention they may patent this same invention first and you are the one to lose.

If you invention turns out to be successful, without a patent some competitor may make a similar product, sell at a lower price, and seriously cut into your profits.

Investors will be reluctant to invest in your invention if you do not have a patent since it will be too risky for them.

Before you can obtain a patent you need to own your invention.  This means if  you developed your invention while working for your employer you probably do not own the invention instead it belongs to your employer.

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Filing for a patent will cost some fees.  There is a fee to file the basic application.  After the patent is issued there is a publication fee and an issue fee.  The fees will run approximately $2,000 or more.

You might want to consider using the services of a patent agent or patent attorney to help you obtain your patent.  Fees for the use of the patent agent will likely be lower than those of a patent attorney who may charge several hundred dollars per hour.

In addition to marketing your invention there may be another way to profit from your invention.  It is possible that someone already has a patent on a basic version of your invention and your invention is simply an improvement on the originally patented product.  They cannot use your improvement unless they purchase licensing from you for the improvement.  Of course, if someone already has a patent on your basic invention without your improvements you will need to purchase a license from that person before you can add your improvements to their basic design in order to market the product.

Your invention needs to be something that serves a useful purpose.  There are four patent groups and they are: processes and methods, machines, articles of manufacture and composition of matter.  Your invention needs to fit into one of these categories.

.If you have invented something you think will be marketable and make money then by all means consider obtaining a patent for your invention.