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Your Business First


Top 3 questions before you apply for a patent

Top_3_questions_before_you_apply_for_a_patent.jpgEvery week I sit down with entrepreneurs who want to protect their invention with a patent. However, before we file a patent application, I advise them to carefully consider a number of things. Here is my Top 3:

1. How are you going to make money with the patent?

A business plan shows how you think you are going to make money. Who am I, what am I going to do, what is my business going to look like? These are elementary questions that are raised in the business plan. They are also important for the patent application because the answer to the question of how you are going to make money with your patent also determines the details you are going to add to the patent application.

2. What makes your idea distinctive?

What aspects of your invention make it stand out? In practice, I often see that a competitor has just beaten the applicant to it. Carrying out research beforehand into the kind of innovations the competition has already carried out in relation to your invention will give you a good idea of the various possibilities. Moreover, if you are aware of what is already known, you will be able to explain what it is that makes your invention stand out from others in the application. This will increase the chances of your application being granted.

3. What about the planning?

You should not make your invention public knowledge too soon, but not too late either. Timing is of the key to its success. At what point do you try to approach parties to see if they are interested in collaborating with you? Is it possible to do so on the basis of confidentiality? When will the market introduction take place? How long will the follow-on development of your product take? The filing of a patent application follows a fixed timeline which marks fixed moments for investments. Good timing can avoid unnecessary costs at an early stage.