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BusinessLegal Laws

To patent or not to patent

By May 8, 2018 No Comments

That is the question. So how do you protect your brilliant idea that you’re certain will be a success in the marketplace. I am sure you’ve heard of patents and you may have heard that the applications can be lengthy and costly, so is it right for you?

A patent is a type of intellectual property law right which covers inventions, though the term can be broadly understood and it might be possible to patent a methodology or something else that is not a physical product. There are 4 main criteria and they are that the invention must be; novel, inventive, capable of industrial application, and not excluded from protection.

The best way to conceive of a patent is as a trade-off between you and the state. The state grants you a 20 year monopoly making you the only person capable of producing and selling your invention during those years, but your application is on a central register so anyone in the world can see how your patent works, and after the 20 year term is done they are entitled to copy and market it. However during those 20 years you really can make hay whilst the sun shines.

This trade-off is really the key to answering the question of whether you apply for a patent or not. If your idea is likely to be obsolete in 20 years time then a patent is a good idea. If it is likely your idea will last longer than 20 years you should consider other forms of protection. The classic example is Coca-Cola, which opted to keep its unique formula secret for around 100 years under the common law of trade secrets, and strict confidentiality clauses in its contracts, rather than disclose it in a patent application. Had they obtained a patent it would have only lasted 20 years and undoubtedly the Coca-Cola brand would not be the dominant global player it is today. If you’d like to learn a bit more about how you can protect your idea without the need for a patent then you can read my article by following this link

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