The most obvious answer to this question is, of course, to protect your idea. Based on the nature of your idea, there may be people ready and willing to patent your idea if you have not already done so.
The application for a patent gives the owner of the idea the best opportunity to profit from the idea while, simultaneously, preventing others from copying it for their own benefit. However, although a patent prevents others from copying your idea, you do not have to have patent an idea to be able to exploit it.
It has often been said that for every idea that you have, a few hundred people around the world have already thought of the idea. Although this may sound disappointing, consider this: most of those individuals have, more than likely, not opted to patent the idea themselves.
One of the main reasons that I suggest applying for a patent for your idea is that it gives you ample amount of time to get your invention noticed by potential investors or businesses who may be interested in partnering with you on the idea. An inventor who has a patent, which is a form of commercial property, is much more appealing to investors as it allows the inventor the ability to more readily negotiate.
In addition to attracting potential investors, other benefits of patenting an idea include:
- Protecting Against Theft: As I mentioned above, applying for a patent is a formal way of claiming ownership to the idea or invention. A patent helps to protect against the theft of intellectual property (your idea or invention) by offering you legal protection against any unauthorized use.
- Improve Product Reputation or Perception: Patents look good on paper and, just as potential investors are more apt to negotiate with patented products, consumers are more likely to view a patented product as reputable. The connotation that a patent carries for a product is definitely something to consider. When compared to products that are not patented, consumers often select the patented products based on the belief that the patent implies greater advancement or dedication to quality.
- Competitive Advantage: Remember when I mentioned that for every idea you have, a few hundred others around the world have the same or a similar idea? Patenting your idea gives you the competitive advantage or exclusivity over the idea. In other words, a patent excludes others from copying your idea or invention. This means that, dependent on the idea and the industry, a solid patent can generate more business for you because you are the only company who can provide the service or produce the product.
- Business Opportunity: If you don’t patent your idea or invention, someone else will. By not patenting your idea, someone else apply for a patent and generate business based on the idea. This means that you lose out on the opportunity to do business. While it may seem like an obvious benefit, patenting your idea is the basic groundwork for establishing your business, brand and reputation. If you aren’t interested in obtaining a patent, consider handing over your business to someone else who is. It truly is that simple.