There is not one solution that fits all – it is important to find a patent strategy that fits your business. The expert Niclas Owl offers his best tips.
To get a comprehensive protection for both the products, design and brands are expensive. The alternative is to keep their innovations secret but it increases the risk that some competitor steal the idea and earn the money.
– What strategy to choose as a company depends both on its own financial muscles, but also on the business model you have. The choice is not given, therefore, requires both knowledge and instinct to find the method that makes the best business for each individual business, says Niclas Uggla, who has 20 years of experience working with patents, now at the consulting firm Zacco.
Start-ups with both limited financial and human resources must be a little cautious. This applies above all to not go into a patenting efforts were too early, but at the same time, it is important to apply for patents quickly if you yourself want to show their technology to the public.
– It is wise to think about whether patents are the right way to go, and, not least, when it’s time to go. There are often several options. The important thing is to find a way that upholds the basic techniques, but there are reasons to wonder if it will be combined with protection of design and brands.
Niclas Uggla believes that companies should consider the patent as an investment, both to safeguard the value of their own products and their own brand. In addition, it is often possible to spread out the cost over the entire life cycle.
– It is the same principle as when you buy machines to meet the production, the cost will only be activated when the product comes out on the market. In this way you avoid a deep hole in the balance sheet at the same time as it becomes easier to later incorporate the expense in the price.
Read more: the Companies that sought the most patents
What markets you should take out a patent on is given another question. Also not here are a few obvious answers.
In Europe, you can apply for a european patent, but the patent is a national right, and by validating of each individual member state to get a patent. Often it is sufficient to have protection in the larger countries. The explanation is that few companies will develop a competing product that can only be sold in the smaller. Complement it with patents in the united states and China have as a company is often a good enough patent protection.
– if one Takes in too much is a great risk that it costs more than it tastes. You do it in instead of narrowly increases the risk that other companies will round the patent, and thereby become a tough challenger in the key markets.
Larger companies often have patentportföljer which is chock-full. One reason for this is that they many times put out a "bombmatta" of patents around the product they really cherish.
For the competitors there will be a clear signal to stay away. The possibility rarely have smaller companies, they must instead choose more selectively.
– It can be about to stop in a number of protected parts in one and the same patent. It reduces cost but increases risk. In the long run it is not a good tactic, but many times a necessary first step. Later on when it gets speed on the business there may be able to pick out the most valuable pieces and give them their own patents.
From the time a patent application is filed, it has 18 months before the technical information about the innovation is available in the application will be published by the authority. This time should be used to commercialize the product. But there are dangers.
” It is not possible to know if someone else at the same time has filed a patent application on the exact same solution. If it were to happen, it is the first that will get the patent.
Last but not least – keep an eye on everything that is in the patent portfolio is really needed.
– you Pick away that which no longer has any function, it can save money that can instead be invested in order to bring new innovations, ” says Niclas Uggla.