5 Questions to Ask Before Filing a Patent
You just think you came up with the greatest invention and are excited about patenting your creation. But before filing your patent documentation with the government, there are some questions you should first ask regarding whether filing a patent is even a good idea.
Filing a patent can be an expensive proposition. Lawyers' fees can be astronomical, the filing fees are expensive, and it costs money to enforce the patent.
So here are five questions regarding filing a patent that you should ask yourself before starting the process.
- Does a patent already exist? You can only file for a patent for the invention if the invention (or a very similar one) does not already exist. So you may want to conduct a patent search online before even contacting an attorney.
- Is the idea obvious? There may be a reason that a patent doesn't already exist for your invention -- it may be too obvious. Obviousness can be difficult for a layperson to decide, and you may want to consult a patent attorney.
- Can your idea make money? Even if you have an original and non-obvious idea, you have to make sure your idea can be profitable. The costs of obtaining a patent are very expensive, so you need to make sure that your idea can recoup the costs.
- Are you okay allowing others to examine your product? The downside of obtaining a patent is that your idea now becomes public. Balance the benefits of obtaining a patent against disclosing to the public how your product works.
- Can you defend your patent? A patent is only as valuable as your willingness to defend it. The government will not fight your battles for you, and you have to be prepared to defend your patent. Patent litigation is extremely expensive and time consuming. Make sure you have the capabilities of defending your rights.
The patent process is extremely complicated and expensive. You should ask yourself these questions before sinking too much time and money into the process.