For effective protection, more is needed than a description of the invention in a patent application. Both prior to drawing up the patent application and thereafter, decisions have to be taken which directly influence protection. Consultation with a patent attorney not only produces answers but also saves costs.
There are various parties that offer to draw up patent applications at a relatively low cost. Although it can be very tempting to have your invention patented in that way, it may lead to disappointment and high costs.
Multinational or start-up
Such providers do exactly what they promise they are going to do, i.e. file a patent application. This is of absolutely no use to a company, whether it be a multinational or start-up and everything in between. The focus has to be on what you want to achieve with your invention. A patent strategy is part and parcel of your business strategy.
Applying for a patent in every country
Even the question of which countries you want protection in is important. Companies often have huge ambitions and end up with far too much on their plate. For example, I recently talked to an entrepreneur who had drawn up an impressive list of countries for his product. Applying for patents in every country was going to be extremely expensive. If you have a good international strategy, it is not necessary to have a patent in every country. Depending on a number of factors like location, market and production locations, a limited number of countries is usually enough. As the entrepreneur explained, “The longer I talk to you, the shorter the list becomes.”
However, the question as to whether you are going to start offering your patent under licence, or whether you are going to start producing and selling your invention yourself, is also extremely important. In the first instance it is worthwhile drawing up an extremely broad application. If you want to protect your own product, a specific, limited application may be sufficient. Such an application costs less, particularly during the patent-granting procedure.
Translating intellectual property for the client
For patent attorneys the trick is to translate complicated regulations relating to intellectual property into the client's language. Open-hearted consultation about the strategy to be implemented will result in substantial cost savings both now and in the future.