Should You Patent Your New Invention?
The fast pace at which technology is developing in the world is reflected in the creative inventions that are coming up every day. Nowadays, people are increasingly aware of the value of their ideas and seek to protect them from the competition. The most prominent way to do so is by getting their creations patented. However, taking an invention from an idea to an actual patent is not an easy process and requires due consideration. The procedure for obtaining a patent is expensive and time-consuming so, a comprehensive cost-benefit analysis by the inventor is required. Not only do you need to check if your patent fulfills the legal requirements of novelty, non-obviousness, industrial application, and enabling, but what happens AFTER you get the patent? Will the invention and the investment put into it amount to anything?
All inventors do not get the opportunity to go on the television show, Shark Tank, and pitch their enterprising ideas to investors. So, the following steps can help one take a decision regarding their invention:
Patentable subject matter
As per sections 3 and 4 of the Indian Patents Act, 1970, Inventions related to atomic energy, the discovery of a scientific principle or abstract ideas, discovery of any living thing or non-living substance, laws of nature, or anything contrary to well established natural laws, anything that causes a serious injury to human, animal, plant life, physical phenomenon, products which are contrary to public order or morality, method of agriculture or horticulture, business methods and a new form of know substances, among other things, are not the patentable subject matter. So, before doing anything with your idea, make sure it is patentable in the first place.
Research of public databases in India and elsewhere (such as the Patentscope database by World Intellectual Property Organisation) will let you know whether your patent is similar to a pre-existing one. This preliminary search will ensure that you fulfill the requirement of a novel invention and to check whether there is relevant prior art available.
Test the patent
Even if your idea has not been previously patented, it is essential to check whether the invention is practical and performs its intended function or not. Deciding to patent something that does not work in real life will be a huge waste of time and effort. This would ensure that the patent has an industrial application in its intended industry.
Marketability of the patent
A product is always created with a certain target audience in mind. So, rigorous market research to determine your target audience, their prospective reaction to the product, and the amount of money the market would be willing to pay are necessary to check if the invention is financially viable. If the cost of manufacturing the product is more than what the consumers are willing to pay or if the potential market is too small, it is not advisable to go through with the patenting process. Market research could involve seeking professional help to conduct focus groups or survey a large audience.
It is advisable to seek the guidance of Patent attorneys from the beginning in order to ensure a streamlined process of checking whether your invention should be patented or not. Thorough research will guarantee an efficient utilization of your time and energy. It will also help improve your invention in case you want to go ahead with applying for a patent.