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When You Should NOT Patent Your Idea

Rich Goldstein

Founder & Principal Patent Attorney

You’ve come up with an idea and you’re considering whether you should pursue a patent. Deciding when, if ever, a patent is right for your idea can be difficult to decide on your own. If you are like many inventors you might wonder when is the best time to patent your idea. 

I’ve heard it hundreds of times, “Rich, should I apply for a patent now, later, or never?”. 

The hard truth is… 

Sometimes “Never” is the Right Way to Go

When do you rule out applying for a patent all together? 

  • A patent is not possible

The first reason to rule out a patent is when the idea or invention is not patentable. While this may seem like an obvious answer, sometimes it can be difficult to tell. Sometimes people get a feeling of urgency to patent something.  This urgency makes them completely overlook the fact their idea is not patentable. 

What’s the result? Wasted time, money, energy, resources, and nothing to show for it except for a rejection letter from the US Patent Office.  

That’s why it’s crucial you research patentability before you embark on your patent journey.

  • A patent would not protect your product

The second situation where “never” is the best option is when your idea does not help you reach your goals. While you might be able to patent your idea, it won’t help your business prevent competition… nor will it contribute to your long-term business goals.

  • The project is a personal one

The third scenario where a patent might not be the right option is if you are pursuing it for personal reasons. If what you are trying to patent is for bragging rights, you might want to reconsider whether the expense of pursuing a patent justifies a patent that you simply hang on the wall. 

With that said, when is it a good idea to apply for a patent?

When to “Apply for a Patent Now”

If your idea is patentable, and consistent with your goals, when should you apply for a patent immediately?

You will only be ready for a patent if you have done the necessary research to make sure your idea is patentable. It might make sense to pursue a patent immediately if the patent will help you prevent your competition from getting a jump on your idea. Patent protection on the groundbreaking features of your invention can help you secure your claim to your invention before others do.

Another scenario where “now” would be a good choice is if you are about to disclose your invention to the public. You must, however, make sure any feeling of urgency does not make you overlook taking a careful look at whether your idea is patentable. Rushing into the patent process only to find out your idea is unpatentable can be a costly mistake. Take a breath, and do the necessary research to determine the patentability of your invention.

When to Put a Pin in It

Sometimes delaying your application for a patent is the right option for you. You might be wondering when this would be the case?.

First, if your idea or invention is not ready and the bare concept is not patentable, then you might want to wait until your prototype is complete and all changes are implemented before you apply for a patent. If major components of your invention are going to change, your invention might not be ready for patent application. You see, there is no point in patenting something if it is going to significantly change within a short period of time.

Another time when waiting to file your patent application might be best is if you are not absolutely sure yet that you even want to pursue your invention. If you are not 100% sure about it, don’t waste the money needed to apply for a patent. Everybody knows securing a patent is an investment. That’s why you want to make sure you wait until you are completely sure your idea is something you want to develop and take to market. 

While “later” can sometimes be the right option for you, there are often problems with waiting. The two main issues that come with waiting are: 

  • someone else could steal your idea, or 
  • you could completely lose the right to patent it if it is publicly disclosed. 

For the first of these problems there is nothing that you can do — sometimes that is how life works. 

The second problem, however, can at least be mitigated. If you publicly disclose your idea, you will (in most cases) immediately lose your right to patent it. There is a one year grace-period in the U.S. in certain situations. If after one year you have not applied for a patent, you will lose the right to do so in the US and in most of the rest of the world. 

If you want to test how your invention does on the market, you can submit a provisional patent application. A provisional patent application will establish your priority for your idea, and get you “patent pending” status. Your provisional patent application gives you one year to file for a utility patent. This might give you time to develop the product further before applying for your final patent. It can also help to protect your idea from someone else stealing it because it gives you the priority to your idea.

If NOW is the right time for you, and you have questions about exactly what to do next, a patent evaluation is the next step..

Your Patent Evaluation Process

Most patent attorneys skip this critical first step, which we feel is a tremendous flaw. Our process starts with this signature step because it ensures we do not waste your valuable time and resources on a patent you may in fact not need. It also ensures our research is aligned with your business goals.

The patent evaluation gives the Goldstein Team the opportunity to collect the right information from you about your idea. This informs our research so that we can give you the best advice about how and whether to proceed with a patent.

During this initial phase, we’ll also learn about your goals. We want to understand your reasons for seeking patent protection. Together, we’ll talk about how owning your intellectual property can help you achieve those goals.

We take the time to learn as much as possible about your idea and your goals. We’ll also guide you through the types and extent of patent protection that would be ideal for you.

We recognize that every client’s situation, motivations, and goals are unique. Our patent evaluation helps us understand the nuances of your situation so that together we can develop an appropriate strategy.

Click Here to claim your free strategy session now >>

While intellectual property protection might be difficult and confusing, we patiently listen to you, help you understand all your options, and then follow the best path to protect your valuable idea.

You’ve come up with an idea and you’re considering whether you should pursue a patent. Deciding when, if ever, a patent is right for your idea can be difficult to decide on your own. If you are like many inventors you might wonder when is the best time to patent your idea. 

I’ve heard it hundreds of times, “Rich, should I apply for a patent now, later, or never?”. 

The hard truth is… 

Sometimes “Never” is the Right Way to Go

When do you rule out applying for a patent all together? 

  • A patent is not possible

The first reason to rule out a patent is when the idea or invention is not patentable. While this may seem like an obvious answer, sometimes it can be difficult to tell. Sometimes people get a feeling of urgency to patent something.  This urgency makes them completely overlook the fact their idea is not patentable. 

What’s the result? Wasted time, money, energy, resources, and nothing to show for it except for a rejection letter from the US Patent Office.  

That’s why it’s crucial you research patentability before you embark on your patent journey.

  • A patent would not protect your product

The second situation where “never” is the best option is when your idea does not help you reach your goals. While you might be able to patent your idea, it won’t help your business prevent competition… nor will it contribute to your long-term business goals.

  • The project is a personal one

The third scenario where a patent might not be the right option is if you are pursuing it for personal reasons. If what you are trying to patent is for bragging rights, you might want to reconsider whether the expense of pursuing a patent justifies a patent that you simply hang on the wall. 

With that said, when is it a good idea to apply for a patent?

When to “Apply for a Patent Now”

If your idea is patentable, and consistent with your goals, when should you apply for a patent immediately?

You will only be ready for a patent if you have done the necessary research to make sure your idea is patentable. It might make sense to pursue a patent immediately if the patent will help you prevent your competition from getting a jump on your idea. Patent protection on the groundbreaking features of your invention can help you secure your claim to your invention before others do.

Another scenario where “now” would be a good choice is if you are about to disclose your invention to the public. You must, however, make sure any feeling of urgency does not make you overlook taking a careful look at whether your idea is patentable. Rushing into the patent process only to find out your idea is unpatentable can be a costly mistake. Take a breath, and do the necessary research to determine the patentability of your invention.

When to Put a Pin in It

Sometimes delaying your application for a patent is the right option for you. You might be wondering when this would be the case?.

First, if your idea or invention is not ready and the bare concept is not patentable, then you might want to wait until your prototype is complete and all changes are implemented before you apply for a patent. If major components of your invention are going to change, your invention might not be ready for patent application. You see, there is no point in patenting something if it is going to significantly change within a short period of time.

Another time when waiting to file your patent application might be best is if you are not absolutely sure yet that you even want to pursue your invention. If you are not 100% sure about it, don’t waste the money needed to apply for a patent. Everybody knows securing a patent is an investment. That’s why you want to make sure you wait until you are completely sure your idea is something you want to develop and take to market. 

While “later” can sometimes be the right option for you, there are often problems with waiting. The two main issues that come with waiting are: 

  • someone else could steal your idea, or 
  • you could completely lose the right to patent it if it is publicly disclosed. 

For the first of these problems there is nothing that you can do — sometimes that is how life works. 

The second problem, however, can at least be mitigated. If you publicly disclose your idea, you will (in most cases) immediately lose your right to patent it. There is a one year grace-period in the U.S. in certain situations. If after one year you have not applied for a patent, you will lose the right to do so in the US and in most of the rest of the world. 

If you want to test how your invention does on the market, you can submit a provisional patent application. A provisional patent application will establish your priority for your idea, and get you “patent pending” status. Your provisional patent application gives you one year to file for a utility patent. This might give you time to develop the product further before applying for your final patent. It can also help to protect your idea from someone else stealing it because it gives you the priority to your idea.

If NOW is the right time for you, and you have questions about exactly what to do next, a patent evaluation is the next step..

Your Patent Evaluation Process

Most patent attorneys skip this critical first step, which we feel is a tremendous flaw. Our process starts with this signature step because it ensures we do not waste your valuable time and resources on a patent you may in fact not need. It also ensures our research is aligned with your business goals.

The patent evaluation gives the Goldstein Team the opportunity to collect the right information from you about your idea. This informs our research so that we can give you the best advice about how and whether to proceed with a patent.

During this initial phase, we’ll also learn about your goals. We want to understand your reasons for seeking patent protection. Together, we’ll talk about how owning your intellectual property can help you achieve those goals.

We take the time to learn as much as possible about your idea and your goals. We’ll also guide you through the types and extent of patent protection that would be ideal for you.

We recognize that every client’s situation, motivations, and goals are unique. Our patent evaluation helps us understand the nuances of your situation so that together we can develop an appropriate strategy.

Click Here to claim your free strategy session now >>

While intellectual property protection might be difficult and confusing, we patiently listen to you, help you understand all your options, and then follow the best path to protect your valuable idea.

Is it Time to Protect Your Ideas?

Book your FREE Idea Protection Strategy Call

Join over 10,000 others who have asked us to help protect their best ideas and inventions.

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Join over 10,000 others who have asked us to help protect their ideas.

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