It seems like startups and large companies everywhere are rolling out all kinds of new innovations and game-changing products these days. But, if you’ve just come up with something that you think could be just as successful, you need to patent it right away.
The sooner you patent your product or service idea, the better. This protects the integrity of your business and keeps other people from stealing your idea. You can’t patent a business as soon as an idea pops into your head, but you should definitely do it before going to market.
The big question many people have is whether to fill out their own patent application or to hire a patent lawyer, though. Use the following explanation of how both situations work to help you make your decision.
How to Get a Patent on Your Own
Patenting your own business is actually not as complicated as it sounds. In fact, patent examiners are required to help inventors with their application process, which can help take some of the nerves off.
The basic DIY application process follows the steps below.
1. Track the Development of Your Invention
One of the best ways to ensure the success of your patent application is to track all stages of the development process.
From the second you think of your idea to the moment you’re ready to protect what you’ve come up with you should be logging everything that happens. This includes all the research, the prototypes, the funding acquisition and spending, and more.
This information helps you prove that you really are the person who came up with the product. More than that, it shows how much you’ve thought about the invention and how well-prepared it is to be patented and go to market.
2. Check the Qualifications for Patent Protection
As your idea develops more and more, it’s good to start seeing whether or not it qualifies for patent protection. There is a chance someone else has come up with a similar invention and beat you to patenting.
Also, your product/service has to meet certain requirements before your application can be approved. Check that you have all the qualifications necessary ahead of time so you don’t waste time going back and forth with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO).
3. Fill out and File Your Patent Application
Once you’ve met all the requirements and have every part of your progress logged, you’re ready to fill out the application and file it. Take your time doing this.
The last thing you want is to get so close to reaching patent protection that you set back the process just because you missed something on the application. Remember you have an examiner’s help available to you if you come across something you don’t understand. Or, consider whether or not it’s time to hire a patent lawyer.
Why You Should Hire a Patent Lawyer to Take Care of the Patent for You
The patent application process seems pretty straightforward once you research how it works. But, there are still instances when it’s better to hire a patent lawyer than to take the risk of receiving a rejection for your self-filed application.
Here are a few signs that it’s better to hire someone than to do it yourself.
1. You Don’t Have Enough Time to Spare
You can’t get so wrapped up in developing your product that you forget to patent what you’re doing. If you really think you don’t have the time or you just prefer to put all your energy into the actual product, give the responsibility of patenting to a reliable, trustworthy source.
This allows you to make progress in every aspect of the development process without compromising quality or time. When you hire a patent lawyer, you’re able to put everything you’ve got into your idea while they take care of the rest.
2. You’d Rather Not Do All the Research
Maybe you don’t mind taking the time to log the idea’s development and fill out the application, but you’re not so excited about the research.
You have to really understand the market you’re trying to disrupt before you launch a new product into it. This means knowing who the top competitors are and if there are any inventions already out there that could be compared to yours.
Plus, there’s a part of the patent application that has to do with the commercial potential of your idea. If you know you’re onto something great, but you have no idea what to price it at or how many units you plan to sell, you need a lawyer to help you out.
3. Your Invention Is Complex
Another reason to hire a patent lawyer is to take care of a complex patent application. This is something many inventors in the technology space see.
Whether you’re developing an app or coming up with a game-changing software system, it’s good to get your patent done the right way (i.e. with experienced legal support).
4. You Want to Get to Market Right Away
This matter goes back to the importance of time. Maybe you’ve already completed the development of the product and now the only thing left is to launch. But, you need to get a patent before you start selling your idea.
The work ethic and know-how of a patent lawyer can help move your application process along. This takes the guesswork out of doing it yourself, which is crucial when time is of the essence. You can click to read more about how much easier and faster the application process becomes when you have someone helping you do it.
5. You Have the Funding to Hire a Lawyer
Sometimes, people decide to do their own patent application because they’re tight on funding for their business. If you have the money to spare, get the services you need.
This is the most logical thing you can do. Getting a lawyer improves your chances of getting an approved patent application the first time around. It’s not just a fee you can afford, it’s a valuable investment for the overall success of the idea you want to launch.
Protecting Your Business with Patenting, Getting More Funding, and Other Business Insights
You can read about patenting a business yourself and hiring a patent lawyer all you want, but at some point, you have to make a decision.
Take a moment to consider how far along you are in the development process and how much you could benefit from the help of a patent lawyer. Even if you’ve started filling out an application, you may realize the better choice is to hire a patent lawyer.
For more information on patenting, funding, and additional business tips, click here.