Securing a patent for a business idea or product is not a straightforward process. As an entrepreneur in a competitive industry, you need to protect your invention but it’s a time-consuming and financial investment that you will be making; before doing so, and in order to increase your chances of getting a patent, you have to have a solid marketing plan in place and be certain that your product can be used by your customers, is innovative and unique.
FriPura is an excellent example of a patentable product. It has stand-out qualities and there aren’t any competitors offering the same product qualities. Having had firsthand experience of patenting the award-winning FriPura filter, here are some key tips you should keep in mind.
Before you apply for a patent, be aware of other products which might be similar to yours, as you wouldn’t want to infringe on someone else’s. Invest in professional market research that will help determine if there’s real need for your product on the market. Spend time to get to know your product inside out, understand how it will help your target market and thoroughly assess your competition.
With the government suggesting that only one in 20 self-made patent applications actually get the green light, it really helps to hire a lawyer from the start; to guide you through your application, identify any possible loopholes and guarantee you do it right.
Once granted, a patent cannot be enforced by any official authority. In other words, it is your responsibility to take legal action to protect your invention from being copied – but keep in mind you’d have to incur all costs associated with this process.
The major advantage of getting a patent is that it gives you the right to stop others from copying, manufacturing, selling or importing your invention without your permission. You do need to renew your patent every few years though, to allow you to keep competitors at bay.
However, a patent is not always the right business move. You might find that a trademark or copyright license (cheaper and easier to obtain), combined with an impactful marketing plan (which will aim to place you as a leader in your industry) makes better business sense and is enough to safeguard your product to a certain extent. Your lawyer would be the best person to advise you on this point.
A patent can be a valuable tool and although it is not able to eradicate competition, it can keep it at bay and protect your product so long as you’re renewing it and willing to enforce it.
By Sam Wilbraham, director of award-winning oil filter brand, FriPura