You should get a patent if you have a big money idea. You are preparing for if and when you do succeed on your big money idea. You should not get a patent if the invention is a small money idea. The cost of the patent is excessive for the amount of money you can make on your invention. Also, you should not get a patent if the goal is to avoid infringement. You will not avoid patent infringement by securing a patent on your invention. Patents give you a right to exclude others, not a right to make your product.
Patents are for big-money ideas
You should get a patent only for big-money ideas. Big-money ideas are ideas where you can make significant sums of money. The cost of the patent would be small compared to the potential profits of the invention. Otherwise, it doesn’t make financial sense to spend the money on getting a patent when the potential profits are too small.
The purpose of obtaining a patent is to plan for the future. When inventors launch their products, they plan to succeed and succeed in a big way financially. If and when they do succeed, they will find that their competitors will begin to knock off their products. Competitors will try to take away their market share. They can try to stay ahead of the curve by continuing to innovate which they should. However, they can also use patents to fend off the competition. With a patent, they can force their competitors to stop competing with them.
Oftentimes, new inventors think about the cost of a patent as being too high so it doesn’t make financial sense. The cost of a patent can be upwards of $25,000 to $30,000. However, I’m not recommending that you get a patent. I’m recommending that you obtain patent pendency to reserve your right to get a patent. You need to file a provisional application or nonprovisional application to establish patent pendency for your invention. Patent pendency reserves your right to get a patent later on if you succeed with your product launch. The cost of the provisional application or the cost of the nonprovisional application if it is preloaded with all of the information such as the options, variance, and alternative embodiments will still be expensive but not as expensive as the full patent.
DIY Patents are for small-money ideas
I don’t recommend patents for small-money ideas. Small money ideas are ideas that do not have any significant profit potential. The cost of the patent application and the patent is significant compared to the profit potential of the idea. In this case, the idea would be considered a small money idea.
In order to make money on small money ideas, you have to reduce patent fees. You may want to prepare and file a patent application without hiring a patent attorney. You would only pay for the government filing fees which would amount to about $140. You can read my resource on How to write a patent application.
Patents don’t prevent you from infringing other people’s patents
You shouldn’t file a patent application if your only goal is to avoid patent infringement. Filing a patent application or having a patent on your product does not avoid patent infringement of other people’s patents. Patents only give you a right to exclude others or to tell others to stop what they are doing.
For example, when you get a patent on your product, you can tell others to stop copying your product. If other people have a patent on your product then they can tell you to stop infringing on their patent. Obtaining a patent does not give you a right to make the product but only the right to tell others to stop infringing on your patent (i.e., the right to exclude).