Have you created the Next Big Thing? Are you excited to start showing the world your great invention? If you are, take a couple minutes to absorb the responsibility that lies ahead. Before attempting to go through the patent process steps, it’s imperative to study the marketplace of your product. Is the industry niche or crowded? Is your product actually revolutionary or is it simply a variation? The patent process usually lasts between 2 and 5 years. The cost of the process can be upwards of $10,000 and requires a lawyer. Taking this into account is important before pursuing a patent.
Knowing if you even need to get a patent is just as important as the patent itself. Industry experts encourage amateur inventors to wait to patent their products until they’re sure it will come to fruition. The process of inventing and marketing a new product or service is a long one and may not be completed. If a consultant or fellow inventor tells you to patent right away, it is recommended to avoid doing so.
While you may not have a patent just yet, it is still very important that you keep your ideas and product safe from infringement. The fact is that keeping your invention safe from trusted eyes may be counter-intuitive but almost 20% of Intellectual Property attackers were trusted business partners. The number of investigations of Intellectual Property theft has increased dramatically in recent years: 80% in 2010 and 23% in 2011; the trade of counterfeit and pirated products increased by 7% between 2000 and 2007. The sad fact is that no one can be trusted to keep your secret safe.
If you’ve decided that your product is worth protecting, then it’s time to file for a patent. Once you’ve gotten to this point, a lawyer will be able to walk you through the appropriate patent process steps, copyright and patent laws, and the different types of patents. In the meantime, it’s important to keep your ideas safe and to prepare yourself for a legal battle to get a patent that may last years.