Inventors, entrepreneurs, and businesses file patents to protect their ideas from being stolen. So, the question "Should I patent my invention?" is common. While patent protection is essential, a patent doesn't guarantee success. Patents can be expensive, and deciding to file one is a business decision.
An Australian standard patent can cost between $5,000 to $8,000, with an additional $2,000 to $4,000 for prosecuting the patent. Maintenance fees add another $8,000 over a 20-year term. Therefore, before investing in a patent, consider if it's a smart business move.
Good attorneys give intellectual property advice that suits clients' business needs. Avoid attorneys who push for filing a patent without asking basic questions about your goals.
Here are key steps before deciding to pursue patent protection:
Evaluate the invention as a viable business opportunity. Understand the product, target market, and competition. Don't rely on feedback from friends and family; base your decision on market research and reliable information. Filing a patent costs money and time, and the inventor must actively participate in the process.
Sometimes, securing a patent reveals no market interest in the patented product.
A patent can only be enforced once granted by the Australian Patent Office. One requirement is the invention must be new compared to existing technology. A preliminary patent search helps determine if the invention is new.
It's disappointing to spend $5,000 to $8,000 on a patent application, only to discover during examination that the invention isn't new. Conduct a preliminary search using free tools like Google Patents or request a detailed search from a Patent Attorney.
Preliminary searches reveal known technologies, helping clients avoid unnecessary patent application expenses. They also provide insights into potential competition and shed light on competitors' existing patents. Knowing competitors' patents helps avoid infringement.
Patent literature (prior patents) is useful for technical information and avoiding duplicated research and development efforts.
After following these steps and finding no clear roadblocks to commercial success, consult a Patent Attorney for further questions and guidance.