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What you need to know about patents

Dealing with patents can be a daunting prospect if you’re unfamiliar with them. However, there’s a good reason many companies have complete strategies dedicated to their approach to patents. When structured and implemented properly they can provide your company with a huge competitive advantage and increase your potential earnings considerably.

A patent can be utilised in several ways. Below we’ll take a look at some of the main points and strategies relating to patents.

The many uses of a patent

There are several reasons a company should consider a patent. They can be critical when you’re entering a new market. They stop local companies from copying proprietary products. This can give your company a competitive advantage and tip the balance in your favour.

A patent can also give you the ability to sell licensing rights in the territory the patent applies to. This can give you a different route to entering a new market that instantly generates revenue. If your product is successful then it obviously won’t be as profitable as selling the product yourself, but it carries far less risk and lower initial costs.

Many companies use a patent to help them gain investment. Owning the rights to a proprietary product or software strengthens your position considerably in the eyes of investors. They know the competition will be limited and your model can’t just be copied.

Pick your territory wisely

Many people believe a patent gives them protection, but a patent doesn’t apply globally. If you’re entering a new market, you will need a patent that covers the region you’re going to be trading in. This means you need to consider the route your company is going to take, and then plan your patent strategy according to your plans for expansion.

An often-overlooked aspect of this process is the ability to seamlessly and accurately complete all of the forms required. It can be a laborious process, and when it’s in a foreign language, it’s critical you get every detail right. Companies that are more astute will use a professional translation agency to ensure they’re both compliant and remain in the loop. This can also be equally as important when you’re entering the market of your own volition, as you will be responsible for marketing material and all your company’s communications. Professional translation agencies will ensure all local customs, cultural differences, and market considerations are taken into account to avoid any potentially costly mistakes.

Spend time researching your potential market. For instance, many European countries fall under the European Patent Office. It’s also possible to perform a patent search through the Patent Cooperation Treaty (PCT), which will provide information on most countries around the world before you start applying for particular territories.

Time and money well spent

While the fact that separate patents are required for each territory you want to operate in can sound daunting, the advantages can far outweigh the potential hassle. Building a specialised team of contacts, such as legal experts and translation specialists, will help you to navigate the minefields and ensure the process remains as seamless as possible.