Why Entrepreneurs Should Look Into Patent Protection? Whether you’ve been involved in business for some time now or you are looking to break in with your first invention, you’ve probably heard of the words “intellectual property” or IP before.
While it can seem pretty clear why intellectual property rights and protection are important, many entrepreneurs don’t realize just how important until they face the disaster of having their idea stolen and patented by someone else or having their ideas be replicated by countless competitors.
For cases like that, patents are particularly important. To make sure you are protected, you should definitely be familiarizing yourself with IP before you take any other steps!
Here is why entrepreneurs should look into patent protection specifically and how it can make all the difference in their business’s success!
What is IP Law?
IP law encompasses several different ways to make sure your unique ideas, inventions and brand are protected from infringement. The four main areas are trademarks, copyrights, patents and trade secrets.
Trademarks are dedicated to protecting brands. This can apply to any word, logo, slogan, etc. that specifically and definitively represents your brand. It is what helps consumers to weigh in things like reputation when making their purchasing decisions.
Unregistered trademarks do fall under common law, giving you the opportunity to pursue action against infringement regardless of whether you’ve officially registered.
Copyrights protect art, whether it be in the form of music, artwork, writing or any of the other countless ways that artists express and market themselves.
Much like with trademarks, copyrights also fall under common law and protect you even without being officially registered (as long as you have a form of proof that the concept originated with you).
In both cases, registration is still helpful in giving options about action against infringement nationally and internationally.
Patents seek to protect inventions. Obtaining a patent is a much more formal, expensive and intensive process than other forms of protection, but it grants the inventor a temporary monopoly on their idea and gives them the opportunity to produce and promote it without the fear of being immediately copied by competitors.
There are many different types of patents to give vastly different types of innovation the specific protection they need.
Trade Secrets essentially protect valuable information often related to the way a company manufactures or conducts business.
As long as it isn’t obvious and there is some degree of effort to keeping the information a secret, it can qualify to be registered as a trade secret so that action can be taken against anyone who leaks it and gives away the business’s knowledge-based advantage.
How Patents are Special
The reason that patents are particularly special and respected within the entrepreneurial community is that they really represent the ultimate, iron-clad protection you can receive for a physical, marketable product.
While other forms of IP law typically have more informal forms of protection (common law for trademarks, copyrights and sometimes trade secrets), the formal process for filing patents is always necessary, making this form of protection much more intense and prestigious.
Plus, the mere cost in time, money and resources of patents goes to show how much more in-depth they are when it comes to official protection. There is a reason so many brands go through all of this to receive a patent, and it’s absolutely worth it.
Ultimately, while protecting your brand and business practices through copyrights, trademarks and trade secrets is definitely important, only patents grant you explicit and exclusive rights to produce and sell your unique invention. Without it, you don’t have your unique product to sell without the aggressive threat of competition.
Why Does it Matter?
You may be asking yourself why all of that really matters, especially if you know that a lot of the creative elements of your business will already be protected to an extent under common law.
As touched upon, patents grant you that temporary protection from your competition. This is critical for entrepreneurs (especially independent entrepreneurs, individuals who are part of a startup or generally younger, newer brands in the marketplace) because bigger, more established businesses can be absolutely ruthless competition.
How bad could it be? Simply think about this fact: an enormous, successful company got to be that way for a reason. They are smart, innovative and cutthroat, and there is no way that you can guarantee that they won’t swoop in on the opportunity to mimic your invention and market it themselves.
Plus, if this does happen, it doesn’t really even matter that you were the original person or team who brought it to market. Larger competitors will have my experience, resources and influence, so they will likely have no difficulty driving you out of the market by offering the product at prices you can’t compete with and with a brand label that everyone already recognizes and trusts.
No matter how sure you are about the ingenuity and creativity of your invention, it is always possible for someone else to reverse engineer it or make an incredibly similar product. For this reason, all entrepreneurs should make sure they secure the right to benefit from and profit off of their hard work and innovation through patent protection.
Intellectual property law is one of the best ways to ensure that entrepreneurs stay motivated and passionate because it ensures that they will have the rights to their unique, hard work.
While copyrights, trademarks and trade secrets are a huge part of this, entrepreneurs should never skip over patenting their original inventions.
If you have a unique idea, you deserve the right to benefit from it. Don’t let your hard work go unrewarded – make sure you reach out to a patent attorney to get some advice on patenting your invention before you try to bring it to market.