Monday, April 11, 2011

Why Should Small Business Owners Spend the Money to Try to Get a Patent?

Since typical patent trials cost millions of dollars and take years to pursue, many business owners forego the expense of filing patent applications.  However, having the option to sue your competitors for patent infringement happens to be only one reason for obtaining a patent.
First, many investors (e.g. angel investors or venture capital firms.) want to see that you not only have an idea for a good product (or service) but that you also have a good management team, a market that you are developing, and entry barriers to protect your market.  Entry barriers come in many forms including your goodwill, your talents and technical expertise, and your intellectual property (IP) among others.  Because patents allow you to exclude others from using your patented ideas in the market, patents help you hold the attention of these investors. 
Secondly, if your exit plan includes selling your business or offering equity in it, many potential buyers also want to see entry barriers.  These players might also be big enough that they can enforce your patents with law suits.  Your patents can therefore represent significant assets in the deal for these big players.  As a result, patents help hold the attention of your potential buyers too. 
Additionally, patents give you an advantage when a potential customer/competitor makes a make-buy decision.  If you have a patented product in the market your patents will influence their decision if they are at all savvy (assuming that you have made them aware of your patents).  As a result they will be more likely to buy the product from you than if you had no patents. 
That is not to say that patents can guarantee these results.  However, owning patents (at least when compared with doing nothing) increases your chances of obtaining these results.

For more information regarding patents and patent applications contact The Villhard Patent Group at or call (512) 897-0399.