3 Top Mistakes That Will Kill Your Startup Patent

 By Ilanit Appelfeld
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Securing a patent for your product or services brings undeniable competitive advantages. You can prevent others from selling a competitive product. 

As there isn’t an alternative to your product in the market, you may be able to charge more for your product and be profitable. A patent can also discourage larger market players from competing against you.

Here are the 3 top mistakes that'll kill your startup patent and how to avoid them.

#1: Filing Too Soon

Filing out of fear may motivate you to file a quick patent. But that would be a mistake for the following reasons:

You may not have all the answers: Your intellectual property must support your overall business strategy and R&D plans. At an early stage, you simply don’t have all the answers and the articulation of your business model and development plans.

In the race to beat time, you may want to file the patent before having actual proof of concept.

Then, as your R&D process unfolds, important improvements in your product (left out of your patent application) will come out and require an additional filing.

Many companies assume that a provisional patent application (PPA) “buys you time” to research and make changes in a future corresponding application. However, this is dangerous and inaccurate to say the least. 

The bigger the gap between your initial filing and any later improvements filed under a corresponding application, the more problematic it will be to rely on your initial priority date. 

#2: Revealing Too Much

As you probably know, patents are granted as part of a deal. You reveal your invention and in return, you get a monopoly to use your invention and prevent others from using it.

Revealing you patent means that your patent is published 18 months after its filing. This means that whatever you include in your patent will go public and can be used by others.

This is one reason why you should make sure you don’t share information in the patent that may provide third parties with helpful tools to design around your invention.

Typically, you should decide with your patent attorney what should go into your application and what should be actively protected as a trade secret. You can navigate this issue by ensuring that your disclosure does not provide certain elements of your invention.

In some cases, businesses may need to disclose the invention to a potential investor before filing a patent application. This is when confidentiality agreements may prove to be helpful.

#3: Filing Too Broadly

As you may be aware, during the patent examination process you, or your patent attorney, are required to communicate with your patent examiner. You'll answer official communications that will determine the patentability and inventive step of your invention.

Every such communication creates a record in which you may admit certain things about your patent that weaken it.

Key Takeaway To Securing a patent for your product or services

To conclude, when filing your patent, many considerations should take place to avoid the 3 top mistakes that'll kill your startup patent. 

Make sure to file when you can actually align your patent with your proposed product and don’t give your competitors the road map to designing around your patent.

If you need help or have any question, feel free to leave a comment below.

About the author 

Ilanit Appelfeld

I help SAAS start-ups and tech companies protect their technology || Patents, Trade secrets, trademarks

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