When should you get a patent?

Glenn W. Peterson

Sacramento creators and inventors like you pour plenty of time and effort into your creations. Regardless of what they are, or what you intend to use them for, you may want to consider getting a patent. But when should you do that?

Entrepreneur states that many people are urged to obtain a patent as soon as they come up with an idea. However, this can be a money sink that many small business owners or inventors who are just starting out simply can’t afford. They suggest that you instead first critically examine the market you’re aiming for. Is there a need for your product? Do you know how to pitch it? What about your internal business structure? These are all things you should have figured out before you drop the money on a patent.

Additionally, it’s important to keep in mind that getting a patent doesn’t automatically mean your work is totally protected. For one thing, patents are very specific. Knock-off products exist because it’s perfectly legal to create a similar product and sell it as something unique. And even if someone were to take your idea, dealing with prosecuting them would be entirely up to you. You’d have to foot the legal fees to take the offender to court. Even if you can prove that you’re the idea originator and that you have the patent to prove it, how much money will you lose getting to that point?

In the end, deciding whether or not you want to patent an idea or invention boils down to how much preparation you’ve already done. Do your research first, and ensure you want to invest.