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Who should be seeking a patent and why?

Some compare being a patent holder to holding a lottery ticket. Just because you have the number doesn't mean you're a winner. Some dismiss the whole idea of pursuing a patent for that reason. They might believe the costs of seeking a patent are so unknown or so high, and that the odds of making any money off the idea are so low, that it's not worth the effort. But, as the old line goes, you can't win a game if you don't play it.

By consulting with an experienced patent law attorney, one committed to transparency about the process and the associated costs from the outset, inventors can best assess whether their new idea is not just patentable, but also marketable and how. The bottom line, the most important reason to explore getting a patent is to protect your idea from theft by someone else.

Who should seek a patent

There is no textbook example of who should consider seeking a patent. It is possible to apply some general standards, though. They include the following:

  • First-time inventors: Some of the most notable products today started as the brainchild of an average person who came up with a way to improve on an existing concept (the proverbial better mousetrap). It might be easy to dismiss such inspiration as too obvious to be worthy of a patent. But how can you know without doing the research? Meanwhile, someone else could grab your idea and take it to the bank.
  • Manufacturers: New products or methods of making old ones develop in manufacturing shops every day. Obtaining a patent when that happens, protecting the idea with a patent allows you to focus efforts on how best to monetize it, whether it is through self-manufacturing, licensing or something else.
  • Inventors looking for a market: Having an idea and getting it to market are different things. If you don't have the wherewithal to produce your idea and sell it, you might need to partner with a manufacturer. Holding a patent is the surest way to protect your stake in the product as you foster production and build relationships with others who can help with the marketing.

Having an idea is only one step in a longer process of getting the most out of the asset. And getting a patent is the first step in protecting your interests.

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