StartUp Founders: Should I File A Patent?
As a startup consultant, I often see entrepreneurs making the mistake of wasting money on filing patents for all the wrong reasons. Many startups believe that filing a patent will increase their credibility and help them secure funding, but this is not necessarily the case. Most angel investors and venture capitalists are not particularly interested in patents, and having one won’t have much impact on your ability to raise funds.
However, that doesn’t mean you should completely ignore patents. There are three key reasons why you should consider filing a patent as a startup:
Firstly, filing a provisional patent application is relatively cheap and can be done before you go to market. It’s a good idea to get the application in as early as possible to protect your intellectual property.
Secondly, it can take several years and tens of thousands of dollars to get a patent granted, so the earlier you start, the better. If you wait too long, you may find that a competitor has already filed a similar patent, and you could end up in a legal battle to prove your ownership of the idea.
Thirdly, while a patent may not be particularly useful in the early stages of your startup, it can become essential as you grow and face competition from other companies. You may encounter patent trolls or competing companies that try to prevent you from competing in the market. In those cases, having a patent can be a valuable asset to protect your business.
As entrepreneur and investor Mark Cuban once said, “Patents are a good way to keep competitors from copying your product, but they’re not a good way to protect your market.” In other words, a patent alone won’t guarantee your success, but it can help you protect your intellectual property and stay competitive in the long run.
In conclusion, filing a patent as a startup is not necessarily about impressing investors or securing funding. Instead, it’s a strategic move that can help protect your ideas and ensure your long-term success. So, if you have an innovative idea that you believe is worth protecting, consider filing a patent early on in your startup journey.