6 Myths about getting a patent
1. ‘A patent will cost me hundreds of thousands of dollars.’
Prices vary, but the cost of drafting and filing an initial patent application (known as a provisional application) for your invention typically costs somewhere between $3000 and $6000. The cost of converting this to a full patent (known as a standard patent) will be roughly similar.
2. ‘There’s no point in getting a patent because the ‘big guys’ will just steal my idea anyway.’
Some people worry that big corporations will steal their idea and they won’t have enough money to fight them in court. But if your invention is protected by a patent, that will deter many people from trying to copy it in the first place.
And if a big corporation infringes on your idea, having a patent will ensure you get a seat at the negotiating table. Very few patent infringement matters ever get to court, because most reach commercial settlements.
3. ‘I can get a worldwide patent.’
There is no such thing as a ‘worldwide patent’. Based on your business plan, you will need to seek patent protection in each country where you expect to sell your product.
4. ‘A patent attorney will steal my idea.’
Patent attorneys have to abide by a government code of conduct (1) (that requires them to be courteous, ethical and well informed and forbids them from acting in a deceitful or fraudulent manner. They also have their own industry code of ethics (2) which forbids them from acquiring intellectual property rights where there is a potential conflict of interest.
5. ‘There are patent police.’
Once you have secured a patent, you will need to do your own checking to ensure it hasn’t been infringed, because there are no patent police. You will need to keep an eye on competitors’ products and do occasional internet searches to see if anyone has copied your ideas. Many patent attorneys also offer an IP watching service.
6. ‘A patent will automatically make me lots of money.’
You are unlikely to receive business offers just because you have secured a patent - you will still need to have a business plan for commercialising your idea. A patent is a commercial tool that will help you do that by protecting your idea from being stolen by others.