There are important things to consider when deciding if you should invest the many sums of money necessary for patent registration and, possibly, enforcement. An established company already has the requisite resources to evaluate its market and customers. They also have existing distribution channels that startups lack. Although it is often seen as wise to register for a patent to deter imitators, the truth is that large companies regularly prevail when challenged in court. Therefore, a patent’s value as a sword or shield is questionable.
For startups short on cash, there are alternative, cost-effective routes that can provide relatively robust protection. Confidentiality agreements and trade secret protection can potentially work just as well as costly patent registration. All employees, board members and advisors should be required to sign agreements obligating them to assign all business-related IP to the startup. You will also want to extend IP protection through agreements with non-employees, including vendors. outsourced designers, consultants, engineers, and even customers.
With all of that said, patents can offer a tech startup many benefits. It can attract investors and deter some competitors. A startup with patent protection becomes more valuable to companies interested in forming a joint venture or making an acquisition as well. A startup has the ability to license its patent and, which gives the company another option to generate funding while expanding its market simultaneously.
Feel free to check outto have your work completed by experienced patent attorneys. Our company and network of attorneys are well aware that startups are often bootstrapped and we provide alternative pricing options to reflect that. I also welcome any questions you have, so message me directly if I can help!