Patents 101

Patents 101: How Companies can Patent a Good Idea

It doesn’t matter which industry your business belongs to, if you invest in research and development, then you have to patent and protect your achievements. One of the most significant and viable ways to ensure that you will be the one to reap the full benefits of your investments is patenting. Remember, an invention is not your own until it is patented but once it’s done, rest assured, nobody will steal the share of your revenues.

Nowadays, having patents for your company’s inventions is critical for providing that competitive advantage that makes the difference on your competitors and that in the medium term will help improve the profits for your company.

It is not only about doing things right in terms of resource management, but also about offering something that the others don’t have, and patents allow exploiting a marketing bonanza for a certain time.

Patents provide you with an exclusive right to prevent or stop others from commercially exploiting an invention for twenty years from the date of filing of the patent application.

They also help in building a positive image for your enterprise because business partners, investors and shareholders may perceive protected portfolios as a demonstration of the high level of expertise, specialization, and technological capacity within your company. This may prove useful for raising funds, finding business partners and raising your company’s market value.

They can create and preserve a technological advantage- At the core of the value of a protected idea is the ability to enforce it against others and exclude any person or company from exploiting the invention without permission.

Infringement proceedings are generally expensive to bring, though the cost varies from country to country, but they are equally expensive to defend, particularly as a common aspect of the defense is to challenge the validity of the property based on numerous available grounds of revocation.

Accordingly, litigation is generally not taken on lightly and the cases that do go through to trial typically have strategic importance to the technology or the industry of the parties in dispute.

For these reasons, the mere existence of granted and even pending rights, on publicly accessible registers that are available and searchable on the internet, is itself valuable due to the deterrent effect it can have on competitors’ activities.

In many higher technology industries, competitors monitor each other’s portfolios and sometimes proactively challenge problematic patents, either shortly before or after they are granted by governmental authorities.

A common approach to generating income from rights is to license them to third parties, on the basis that those third parties will pay periodic license fees referable to the time they have the benefit of the license, or royalties referable to the volume and value of sales made with respect to the licensed invention.

In this way, owners can create valuable revenue streams throughout the long life of a patent, even where they may not wish to, or do not have the capabilities to, market the invention themselves.

Where an invention is patented in multiple jurisdictions throughout the world, the owner may choose to exploit the invention itself in some jurisdictions, but license third parties in others where it does not operate.

A patent owner may choose to license only one third party on an exclusive basis, or multiple third parties on a non-exclusive basis, and may take different approaches in different jurisdictions.

Just as patents are potentially powerful tools in the hands of a company, they have the potential to be hugely disruptive in the hands of a competitor. It is therefore prudent for companies to be aware of their competitors’ patent portfolios and to evaluate, at least to some extent, the third-party patent landscape whenever they are considering developing or launching a new product or process.

Understanding the extent to which there is ‘freedom to operate’ can inform product and service design decisions at a time when changes can be made with less costs and practical consequences. Navigating around third-party patents will almost always be cheaper than facing patent infringement proceedings or paying license fees or royalties – but sometimes the fight is worthwhile.

All renowned experts agree that in today’s marketplace, being IP-aware is of the utmost importance for every business. With a viable patent strategy, you will not only be able to keep competition at bay but also grow your business, expand and defend your market share, as well as find new sources of revenue. Do not let others take over your brilliant ideas and benefit from years of your hard work and hefty investments. Do not miss your chance to get the reward you really deserve.

How Can We Help with Patenting of New Ideas?

At Azer Corporate, we are at your disposal to discuss how you or your company and derive benefits through the protection of invented new ideas. Please contact us through or +248 2 842 040