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6 Things Startups Need to Know About Patents

6 Things Startups Need to Know About Patents

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We live in an age where we are seeing exponential small business growth and a huge rise in the number of start-up companies. This page will hope to tell you about six things that startups must know about patents. A patent is a piece of intellectual property that can be bought or sold; a patent will be taken out to ensure nobody else can mimic or create an invention that you have patented. If somebody is in breach of your patent, then you can take them to court and sue them for a lot of money.

Patents are a very important aspect of business law, and they protect your inventions and creations, ensuring nobody can use them to make a profit. If you have an invention that you are proud of and think you can make a profit with, it may be time to file for a patent.
Here are six things startups must know about patents.

1.   You Cannot Patent an Idea

Sorry to break it to you, but you cannot patent an idea. Many people think that their idea is so good that they should patent it – unfortunately, it does not work like that. You cannot patent just an idea, but rather, you will need a prototype to submit a patent application, or at the very least, a series of complex and abstract drawings to demonstrate the production and development of your idea. If your idea really is that good, it may be time to develop a prototype [or a blueprint] – then you can patent it.

2.   Patent Attorney

When you are thinking about applying for a patent, it is very important for you to hire a patent attorney who will be able to run you through everything. As with many types of law, patent law can be very confusing, and it can be very difficult to figure out on your own. A professional patent attorney will be able to make the patent application process much easier and will ensure that your application is up-to-date and proper so that you do not risk denial. If you do not know very much about patents, then you should consult one of these attorneys, even if you are not ready to apply for a patent. Having a patent attorney on your team can be a fantastic way to get your patent approved and licensed. You will also need one to sell a patent.

3.   Multiple Patents

There are many different types of patents. Whether you are a start-up, investor, inventor, or an entrepreneur, you must understand the three different categories of patents [in the United States]. There are three classifications, and these are utility patents, plant patents, and design patents. In China, however, there are only two types of patents. It is important to research and know the types of patents in the country wherein you intend on registering your patent. Thorough research beforehand will ensure you know which category to file your patent under. Read up prior to application.

4.   First to File

When you are applying for patents, it is important to know that the first person to file the patent wins the patent in most cases. This means that if you and another person are racing to get the patent approved, whoever files first wins. There are some instances when this may not be applicable, such as if a crime were used to prevent a person from filing first. Ordinarily, however, this does not happen, and whoever files first wins. It is very important that you show discretion with your patent and do not discuss it with anybody else, as they may steal your idea.

5.   Patience

Most patents take a very long time for them to be granted. It is because of this that you must exercise patience. Your patent will not be granted overnight but rest assured that if you were the person who was first to file it, you will receive your patent. The process can take a very, very long time, but your attorney will advise you on how long you can expect to wait. The average time, at the time this was written, for a patent to be granted is just under three years.

6.   Money

Patents cost money. They cost money to make the application, and they cost money to pay for the attorney to handle it all for you. Don’t go into a patent application expecting it to be cheap, and in fact, it will be quite the opposite. Ensure your patent is worthwhile, otherwise, you might pay more for the patent than it is actually worth.
Now, with the help of this page, you know six things all startups should know about patents. Patents are a great way to ensure your invention does not get stolen or used by anyone else. They are very complicated, so always ask for advice from a professional patent attorney.

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