Deciding whether to patent or not to patent

Deciding whether to patent or not to patent


2 min read

When your idea becomes a fully-fledged invention, protecting it is crucial. Safeguarding your ideas against potential theft is an important step.

If you're not sure whether to patent, TV commercials and invention websites promoting patenting services might convince you. However, if you see your idea as a business opportunity rather than just an invention, patenting might not be necessary.

Though obtaining a patent can be valuable, it's not a guarantee of success. Only 2% to 3% of patented products succeed in their respective markets. But that doesn't mean you shouldn't patent your invention. Many people have patented multiple products with success stories. Patenting shouldn't be your first or compulsory step, unless necessary.

Before filing for a patent, evaluate the invention and determine if it's a viable business opportunity. Understand your invention, target market, and competition. Solid market research and attention to development are crucial.

Consider the following before filing for a patent:

  • Patent research: Conduct a preliminary patent search to ensure your invention doesn't infringe on existing patents. You can do this yourself or hire an expert.

  • Prototype: Develop a basic prototype to determine your invention's functionality. Have a close-to-final model when filing for the patent, as changing mechanics or materials afterwards is difficult.

  • Market research: Define your target market and its size. If it's too small, filing for a patent might not be economically viable.

  • Cost of production: Consider the cost of bringing your invention to market. If production costs exceed what the market is willing to pay, your invention might become a money pit.

Once you're sure there are no obstacles to commercial success, decide whether to patent or not. Many inventions aren't patented but succeed in the market. Lack of a patent shouldn't deter you from pursuing your dream.


The decision to file for a patent is ultimately yours. After completing the necessary steps, research, and considering all possible scenarios, consult a patent attorney. They can help you decide what to do and advise on alternative options, like trademarks or copyrights, which might be more suitable and less expensive. Choose the option that makes legal and commercial sense for you.