10,000 Reasons Not to Get a Patent on Your Invention: What Patent Attorneys Don’t Want You to Know

So the reason is dollars, 10,000 dollars are the reason to not get a patent on your invention, at least right now. A patent can cost you $10,000. I think that it’s quite a gamble to pay for a patent before you know that the idea has a market and if the product is profitable.

Is your patent really solving someone’s problem?

Do people want it? Is there a problem that people have that needs solving.

Will people pay for it? You are competing with people living with the problem; the pain threshold is too low for them to pay. There are also competing solutions/products that meet the need. If you can do it better, faster, cheaper, then you have a chance.

I get e-mails from inventors who drain their life savings in pursuit of a product that has no market. A lot of times this is a prevention product. The invention prevents a problem. This is a harder sell. It’s like buying insurance, who really wants to pay for insurance. It not a real problem yet, it may be a problem later so right now it’s risk. Some people are willing to take the chance and live with the risk.

Have you ever heard the statistic that only 2% of patents are a commercial success? This makes me think how commercial success is defined. The contributing factor to why patents don’t equal success is because inventions don’t equal innovation.

Patents do not Equal Innovation

Innovation is when the mass market adopts the product/invention/technology. The iPod was not the first portable MP3 player. It was an innovation because of great design, great user interface and iTunes. Being first is not always a completive advantage.

So what should you do if you think you have a patentable idea?

Find out if there really is a problem with enough pain for the consumer to pay for the solution. This means research.

Sometimes I will put together a sell sheet for a product I’m thinking about. I get the prospective companies to sign an NDA and I sent them the sell sheet. I find out rather quickly if the invention has legs or not.

This way you get feedback before you spend any money. Now if you have a process or invention that is proven and is demonstrable that solves a common problem (such a water purification system), you probably want to get a patent. If you are working on a new dog toy, probably not.

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