Recently, I had a situation that brought patent law into my world. Specifically, it’s uses, applications, benefits, and advantages in respect to a business. In my search for a patent or trademark lawyer in Edmonton, I ended up doing a lot of research on the topic as a whole. Most business owners don’t understand the importance of patents to their businesses, and the value they can provide.
Many businesses utilize patents for a variety of benefits that they can provide. For one, they can provide a competitive edge. By patenting your idea or innovation, you are able to prevent competitors from directly copying the idea and implementing it in their own products or services. Additionally, you give yourself a legitimate means of legal recourse should someone (a competitor for example) infringe on that patent.
Aside from the competitive edge it creates, patents are enormously valuable assets for any company. Many of the largest tech companies in the world hold large numbers of patents, valued in the billions of dollars to tens of billions of dollars or even more. For some companies like Research in Motion or Yahoo, their patents were possibly more valuable than the rest of their business combined at some point. This is due to a few factors, including poor performance by the company that leads to deflated stock price. It’s also a proactive approach to patenting ideas that led to a large number of valuable patents. However, it doesn’t negate the benefits patents provide. They become extremely valuable assets even when the core business components are failing. Used correctly, they can add massive value to a business.
Filing a patent is not a painless process though. While it is fairly easy for large corporations with massive legal budgets, it’s a much bigger decision for a smaller business that doesn’t have the spare money lying around. Specialized lawyers usually required to get these patents approved can be very expensive, and hours can be very long in order to get patents through. Additionally, costs are very significant in order to maintain the patent.
Of course filing patent is a major decision for most businesses, the best way to make it in an educated manner. My suggestion is to contact a local patent lawyer and schedule a free (or if they do not offer free, one-hour) consultation and get their opinion on the benefits and cons of filing a patent. A respectable patent lawyer will provide you with informed opinions and valuable info.