Earning a patent for your invention is a significant step in your journey as a scientist or entrepreneur, but it is not the end. In fact, it is just the beginning of a more substantial undertaking with your new idea. There are plenty of resources available to walk you through the steps to gain a patent, but what happens after that?
Three things to consider after a patent
Congratulations - you have a patent! You are fully invested in this unique idea and now the government recognizes it too, but will the general public? Despite the economic value articulated in your application, earning a patent is not a get-rich-quick scheme. There is legwork still to be done to see the return on investment of your patent.
A business doesn't run on its products alone. In fact, there is a significant amount of marketing, administration and planning that goes on behind the scenes. Now that you own a patent, you also own this work too.
1. Who is your audience?
You had a target market in mind with your invention, and now it is time to reach out to them. Four ways to put your idea in the hands of customers includes:
- Selling your idea or product to a larger company
- Earning a licensing or distribution agreement with a retailer
- Starting your own business
- Attending trade shows
2. What else does my idea require to work?
Say you have a great idea for an app-based product or service. After you earn the patent for your app and complete initial development, what's next? This process could include:
- Software maintenance
- Placement in app stores
- Marketing and advertising
3. What future problems could emerge?
Asking this question is a bit like trying to predict the future beyond the internet, but is worth asking nonetheless. Disruptive innovation like the internet can change the landscape in which we operate, which could threaten the viability of your invention. This concern is especially relevant in the tech industry, where new technology outpaces the understanding of the law almost every day.
If you are involved in digital technology, you understand how cybersecurity is essential to the operations of a business, and protecting a patent requires this same proactive approach. Other common threats could include:
- Infringement via companies that invent similar products.
- Purposeful counterfeiting by overseas firms.
- Expiration of intellectual property protections, allowing other companies to copy your product.
When considering the process to earning a patent, taking a holistic approach can be worthwhile to protect the viability of your product because after you are granted a patent is when new duties of work begin.