Inventing is not something everyone does, but apparently it’s something everyone wants to take credit for. And by everyone, we mean anyone from the closest of friends or a family member — even a good neighbor-turned-eavesdropper.
It’s not uncommon to share your breakthrough idea with people, but it’s also worthwhile to consider possible consequences of naivety. Before you share your invention with everyone, at least have a way to demonstrate that you’re the owner of the idea (in case a passerby or ambitious “friend” decides to take you to the cleaners).
Another option is to keep your idea under wraps until you take it to market, but how would you properly validate your idea to ensure it’s worthwhile in the first place?
This is where patent registration comes in handy. A patented invention not only makes your mark on an industry, but it also gives you peace of mind as you work on it.
Here’s why you need to protect your invention from day one.
1. Exclusive rights to your idea
Patents provide the exclusive rights to use and exploit an invention for up to twenty years, without having to worry about the threat of replicas. Twenty years as a monopoly is nothing to sneeze at.
2. The ability to sell or license your invention
The good thing about patented inventions is that if for some reason you can’t commercialize it under your own brand, you can sell the rights to another company at any period and under a non-regulated price. Basically, very few laws regulate how you decide to exploit a patented invention; you could license the rights to someone else to commercialize it or sell it for cash and shares.
3. Positive brand image for your company
Have you noticed how society holds inventors of theories and technological breakthroughs in high esteem? You could join the league by patenting your idea and becoming the first one to implement and commercialize it.
4. Raise your bargaining power
Let’s say you decide to license your invention to another company – unlike if you had no proof of ownership – a patent will grant you more leverage at the negotiation table. Here’s how: Companies are be wary of future legal expenses associated with “they stole my idea” lawsuits.
What’s more, a patent also gives others the confidence in the fact that they won’t have to spend resources on finalizing a patent themselves – something that will most certainly reflect in the payout. So then, patent registration makes sense if you want to protect (and get a return) on your idea.
While only 2 to 3 percent of all patented products make it to the market, it’s advisable to evaluate the potential of your idea to see if it is patentable. Consult patent databases to research existing inventions and identify licensing partners.
This article has been edited.
Narendra Kumar is co-founder of Enterslice, a Cloud CA and Legal Platform driven by Artificial Intelligence. Connect with @enterslice on Twitter.