A patent should fit with your business plan
A commercial tool
Every decision you make about if, when and how to secure a patent should be based around how you intend to turn your invention into a money-making product.
If you don’t think you can make money from your idea, then there may be little point in seeking a patent.
An investment decision
Seeking a patent takes time and money, so you should weigh up these costs just as you would weigh up the cost of any other business investment.
You should consider if a patent is the best use of your resources at the present point in the life of your business. The money might be better spent on marketing, increasing production or further product development. There are other ways to protect your IP, like trade secrets and nondisclosure agreements.
Whether or not to seek patent protection overseas is another decision that should be made according to your business plan.
There is no such thing as a ‘global patent’, so you will have to decide for which individual countries you would like to seek a patent. It can be an expensive process, so you will have to choose those countries you plan to sell or manufacture in and where you think you can make money.
A patent is an asset
Once you have a patent, you should consider it to be an asset. You can use it to manufacture and sell your invention and stop others from copying it.
You can also sell your patent to another person or use it to licence the manufacture of your invention to someone else.
A patent can help you raise funds, because sometimes potential investors will want to see that the invention they are putting money into is protected.
Manufacturing or licensing
The ultimate aim of a patent is to allow you to produce your invention while stopping others from copying it.
However, moving an invention from concept stage to production is expensive and takes considerable expertise. One of the decisions you will need to make is whether you want to manufacture your invention yourself or license it to someone else to manufacture and market.