Protecting Your Product Ideas: Three Myths About Patent Protection

One of the most confusing parts of entrepreneurship is determining what you need to protect and how to protect it. Although commercial insurance policies are widely accepted as necessary protections, you may not feel the same way about patents. Despite how long patents have been available and the consistency of the process, there are many misconceptions that can leave new business owners feeling uncertain at best. Here are a few of the most common misconceptions about the patent process and the protection that patents offer.

Applying for Patents Will Limit Your Investor Options

Some small business owners believe that they'll have a hard time finding an investor for your business if you've protected your product with a patent application. This belief often stems from the fact that a patent application will lock your product design in as it is, limiting what you can change without losing that protection. In fact, many investors actually prefer to work with entrepreneurs who have patents in place for their products, because it shows a level of faith in the product, initiative to protect the concept and a limited competitive market.

Applying for a Patent Just Makes You a Target for Infringement Lawsuits

While it's true that there are a vast number of patented products on the market that could potentially have some similarities to the product that you created, that doesn't mean that you make yourself a target for infringement by filing a patent application. If you work with a patent attorney when you fill out the application, he or she can help you put the necessary details into the "Claims" section to protect yourself from this potential.

The more detail you provide about the intended use of the product, the better your protection will be against infringement. In order to claim infringement, a company would have to show sufficient similarities between your claims and theirs. This could be more difficult with a highly specific product description.

There's No Competition in my Market, I Don't Need a Patent

You may believe that there's no obvious competition in your marketplace. While this could potentially be true, you may have overlooked someone. Even if there isn't anyone in the marketplace using the same exact technology that you are, there are probably businesses out there with products that can accomplish similar tasks. If you don't protect your ideas with a patent, you'll run the risk of losing your product idea to a competitor that you didn't even know you had.

With so many misconceptions about patents, it's no surprise that many entrepreneurs don't know where to start. Now that you know the truth, you can understand the importance of patent protection. Talk with a patent attorney for guidance and support as you fill out your applications.