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Do I need a patent when I invent something?

Not necessarily. First of all, you should determine if your product is patentable. The product needs to propose a new technical solution for an existing problem, and it also needs to be industrially applicable.

In addition you should give the matter a great deal of thought as to why you would like to apply for a patent. Do you want to protect your invention against counterfeiters or is the aim to attract investors? A patented product can give you more leverage during the negotiations with possible investors and partners.

Finally, the costs of the whole procedure should also be taken into account. An expert responsible for the application doesn’t come cheap. On top of that, the costs go up if you want to apply for a patent in multiple countries.

You can also choose not to apply for a patent. This can be a valid choice for your specific situation, and even then there still are a number of options. You can for example decide to keep your knowledge secret, or you can simply place your product in the public domain, in such a way that others will not be able to get a patent either. Another possibility is that certain aspects are already covered by other IP rights, and this can be sufficient in certain cases.

Tip!

A badly written patent application can cost you a lot of money. A patent describes your invention to the slightest detail. If you miss a detail, you give others the opportunity to copy your product. On the other hand, giving too much detail can limit the scope of your patent. A patent application is therefore better written by an expert (patent attorney).