This is the second post in my series entitled “How To Make Money With A Patent: My Guide For Determining If You Should Patent Your Idea.” Please click here to read the first post, and learn from Thomas Edison’s mistake.
The Biggest Problem In Patent Law
The biggest problem in patent law is not bad laws, bad court decisions, or bad science. The biggest problem in patent law is a failure to think.
The critical question is: will this patent add value?
If you can’t figure out how you are going to make money with a patent, then you probably won’t. To understand how to make money with a patent, you need to understand a few basics about patents.
Seven Things That Everyone Should Know About Patents!
- You Or One Of Your Employees Must Have Invented Something To Apply For A Patent — You cannot patent the invention of another.
- You Must Pay To Obtain A Patent — The government does not notice your invention and award a patent to the inventor. Instead, an inventor or assignee (owner) must pay to draft and file a patent application. Further, the owner of the patent application may have to pay even more to convince the government to allow the patent application to issue as a patent.
- You Must Pay To Enforce A Patent — If the patent issues, the government does not enforce the patent. Instead, the owner must pay (or get someone else to pay) to sue others to stop them from practicing the claimed invention without the owner’s permission.
- You May Need Permission To Practice Your Invention — Patents give the owner the right to sue to stop someone else from making or using the invention. They do not give the owner the right to make or use the invention. For example, just because you obtain a U.S. patent on a new drug, does not mean that the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) will allow you to make or market that drug.
- You May Need To Obtain A Patent In More Than One Country — Patents only apply to the country or union in which they are obtained. For example, a U.S. patent can only be used to stop someone from making, using, or selling the claimed invention in the U.S. You cannot use a U.S. patent to exclude someone from making and using your invention in Canada. You would need a Canadian patent to do that.
- You Do Not Need A Patent To Practice Your Invention Or Make Money From Your Invention — You can just make money by practicing your invention. You can just enter into a contract to sell your idea for money or a percentage of the profits. Both methods may be preferable if you estimate that you will make less money practicing your invention than the cost of obtaining a patent.
- Patents Do Not Make You Money — It’s your responsibility to make sure that the exclusive right to practice your invention in the market place is profitable. If your patented method or product is advantageous enough, you might make money taking it to market. If you can convince investors that your patented method or product is advantageous enough, then the investors might invest in your company or even try to buy your company. But ultimately, it’s your responsibility to figure out how to make money with your patented invention.
How Much Does It Cost To Obtain A Patent?
There is no upper limit. However, according to an AIPLA (American Intellectual Property Law Association) survey, the median cost for drafting a U.S. patent application is about $10,000.
Further, although there is no upper limit, you can expect to pay a total amount of $20,000 – $30,000 to draft a U.S. patent application and have it issued as a U.S. patent.
How Much Does It Cost To Enforce A U.S. Patent?
There is no upper limit. The AIPLA survey indicates that the median litigation costs for enforcing a patent ranges from about $700,000 to about $5,500,000 from the start of litigation to a decision by a court. This amount does not include any appeals.
How Long Does It Take To Obtain A Patent?
There is no set limit. A patent application can take from a couple of months to a couple of years to issue if the patent application is allowed to issue as a patent at all.
Patents are a potentially lucrative investment in the innovation of a business. However, like any investment, you should consider carefully whether the return on investment (ROI) justifies the cost and delays of making the investment. In other words, don’t file a patent application until you have a plan for how you are going to make money with it.
The next post in my “How To Make Money With A Patent: My Guide For Determining If You Should Patent Your Idea” series will cover “The Reasons Why Most Patents Are Worthless.” To find the next post in this series, please click here.