More and more companies, entrepreneurs and inventors are recognising the importance of good patent protection. Yet they do not always decide to get it. Financial considerations often play a major role in this. The costs involved in correctly applying for a patent and maintaining one can indeed be quite substantial. There is no way of avoiding them, but fortunately they can be minimised. Do you want to know how? With the tips below you can take the necessary preparatory steps to keep costs to a minimum.
1. Use the Problem Solution Approach
A patent application involves a lot of research. Your product must be novel and inventive in order to be patentable. To be sure of this, we analyse all the technologies available to date. You can really help with this. The Problem Solution Approach is a simple step-by-step plan in which you learn to clearly formulate what the added value of your product is and what makes it stand out from the market. As part of this step-by-step plan, you need to do proper research into the existing technologies.
Your attorney will always do some further research themselves, but you can help them on their way with this.
2. Never write the application yourself
Writing patent applications is the essence of a patent attorney's work. The wording is what makes an application, and therefore a patent, good or bad. It is a legal document, created to make your product and competitive edge as strong as possible. It is not a beautiful text, but a useful text, full of sentences that are difficult to read that serve a legal purpose.
A lot of people nevertheless decide to have a go at this themselves. This often leads to information being included in the text that should definitely be left out, and things that should be included being left out. It takes an attorney at least as much time to rewrite such a text and turn it into a good application, as it takes them to create the text from scratch. So why not save yourself the trouble and frustration and leave this to the attorney.
3. Focus your attention on drawings
Whereas you should leave the wording to an attorney, you may very well be able to take care of the drawings yourself. You may well already have these. Please note: just like patent applications, patent drawings have to meet the necessary requirements. So before setting to work you should consult your attorney about what these requirements are, and which drawings are required.
4. Be concrete in terms of your wishes
Patents come in many shapes and sizes. Sometimes a company's entire raison d'etre depends on one or more technologies. You want to keep these technologies protected as well and as long as possible. We often adopt a different approach to such a patent than to one for a minor adjustment to your production process. Such applications are usually easier to make and less time-consuming. For which countries patent protection is required can also make a difference.
So, think carefully in advance about what you want from a patent and be clear about this to your attorney. This way, you get a patent application that is drawn up in a cost-effective manner and that really fits in with your patent strategy.