Applying for a patent is one of the most difficult tasks in terms of intellectual property protection. However, it can also be profitable in the long term, and for some, it is crucial for survival in the marketplace. When you decide to patent a technology, you should be sure that it will be approved, and not waste time and money. Use this checklist before formally applying for a patent to know how you can be granted one.
Solve a problem
Make sure your technology solves a non-obvious problem. It should be something that people really need and is not obvious knowledge to the public. The problem here is that this could be subjective and will be determined by the Intellectual Property Office or the European Patent Office.
It has to be new
When you apply for a patent, your invention should be something that has never existed or been previously patented, so doing your homework is crucial. This can be easier if you hire a qualified patent lawyer. He can do this for you so that you can be certain that your invention is not something that is too similar to an already patented product. Your technology should be unique and original to have a greater chance of approval. You can start researching prior to applying formally using the local patent library.
It should be a type of product
To qualify for a patent, your invention should fall under certain product categories. These include a process or technique for doing something, a manufactured good, a machine, an original design or an update for an existing product, or an asexually produced species of plant. Improving your product increases the odds of getting a patent. It could be an existing idea that you fully develop. If you refine it, you can also gain a competitive edge against your competitors.
Get professional help
A patent is difficult to get, so many inventors seek expert help. In the UK, 23,300 applications were filed, but only 5,500 were granted, in 2015. This shows that the chance of being granted is low, and applying for it on your own makes it more difficult. The help from a patent expert makes the process easier and your chances of success greater. A patent attorney has the required skills to draft the application for you.
Whether you own a start-up or a big company, being granted a patent is not easy, but it could be crucial to your long-term profitability. To benefit from it, you need to plan how you can earn from it. If you think that only a few people are going to buy it, the cost to have and keep it patented could be greater than the profit you will make. You also should be ready to foot the costs of defending it against being copied. Get a lawyer or use patent application software that simplifies the process.