Your intellectual property is essential to the success of your business. It can give you a competitive edge when you own the patent on a new product as you introduce your idea to the marketplace.
The process of obtaining a patent can take a long time. Often, entrepreneurs wait until they know an idea will take off, leaving their product unprotected from copycats.
Before you put off filing for a patent, this is what you should consider.
Who knows about my idea?
Keeping a secret is much simpler when only a few trusted colleagues know about it. If you have started to test your idea with people outside your organization, it can become challenging to prevent someone from taking your idea.
Depending on the potential reach of your product, it may be wise to start filing for a patent once you have a plan for your idea. Since the process can take a long time, it is essential to begin filing for a patent as soon as possible so that your product has sufficient protection when it is time to launch.
How much protection does the “patent pending” label offer?
The patent-pending label can present some legal challenges. Most importantly, there can be repercussions if you mark a product as patent-pending if you have not filed for a patent with the United States Patent Office (USPTO).
A patent-pending marking is still helpful, however. A patent-pending label puts other people on notice that you are filing for a patent, and they should not copy your design. In some cases, the notification that you have filed for a patent can offer limited protection if someone copies your design.