How Patents Work

 

In an increasingly competitive global business environment, where everyone’s profit margins are being squeezed, what can you do to stay ahead of the competition?

One of the few legitimate ways of securing a competitive advantage is to get a patent for an invention. If you can come up with something that has never been done before anywhere in the world, you may be able to get a patent for it.

In return for contributing to global knowledge by filing a complete description of your invention at the Patent Office, you get the right for a limited amount of time to prevent others from copying your invention.

A patent is a short-term property right granted by the government of a country. You benefit by being able to stop your competitors copying you while the patent is in force. Everybody else benefits because the details of how your invention works become publicly available, rather than being hidden away.

 

There is quite a lot of cost, time and effort in getting a patent, and you have to get separate patents in each country or region in which you want protection. There is no guarantee at the start of the process that your patent application will be successful, and even after your patent is granted there is no guarantee that a court will find it valid.

Nevertheless, if you are an innovator and you need to be able to protect your investments in research and development from competitors eager to steal your ideas, a patent may be your best option for protection.