One of the issues Inventors have told me about is the lack of negative information on getting or owning a patent they get from those selling them patent services. What do you expect, the person selling you a car generally tells you all the Pros of the car and seldom goes into the Cons of the car. The other issue is most first time Inventors don’t know questions to ask to get good advice to make an informed decision.
Here are some things you should know and questions to ask those trying to sell you patent search or patent filing services. I am not a lawyer so this is my opinion, not legal advice.
•Patentable does not equal marketable. You can patent edible sneakers, does not mean anyone will buy them.
•Patents are only as good as the Claims you have approved.
•Just because you file a Claim does not mean it will be approved. You can file 30 Claims and only get approval on 1 or none.
•Patents are only as good as the person writing it. Many patents are approved with Claims that are so narrow they provide no protection and are easy to get around.
•Patents are only as good as your ability to defend them in court. And court may be in a state several states away from where you live.
•Knockoffs happen to patented products every day. Patents do not stop knockoffs it only allows you to go after them in court based on your Claims and what they are infringing
•Going after an infringer does not mean you will win in court
•Going after an infringer and losing can open you up to a counter lawsuit for defamation
•You may never get a return on your investment in a patent.
•Filing a patent and getting one issued in the USA does not protect you in Europe, China or other countries
•Don’t expect the person selling you patent services to tell you your idea is not marketable. They are in the business of selling patent services, not discouraging you to not buy their services.
•Once you have paid for a patent and it is issued the payments don’t stop. There are several maintenance fees that have to be paid over the life of the patent. Your patent can be voided for non-payment of those fees.
•A patent search is a picture in time, it does not mean nothing is out there
•A patent search does not cover the products on the market with no patent, which there are plenty of products on store shelves with no patent.
•Ask how many patents are invalidated every year. Meaning you can spend all that money, get a patent and still have it taken away.
These are just some things to think about and ask about as the person is trying to sell you their services. I am not saying patents are not valuable. You just need to know both sides of the coin.