4 Reasons to sit down early with a patent attorney
Patent protection is already crucial in this early phase, so we help the young entrepreneurs with that. I’ve been guiding them with patent applications, Freedom To Operate studies and more in recent years. And so we will continue to do that in the coming years. Many entrepreneurs, both starting out and experienced, only realize too late how important it is to sit down with a patent attorney at an early stage. And there are several good reasons for doing so.
REASON 1: WE CAN IDENTIFY THE PATENT RIGHTS OF THIRD PARTIES AT AN EARLY STAGE
Many entrepreneurs are so busy developing their product, starting a business and finding investors that their competitors’ patent rights are a blind spot. You may know who your competitors are, but do you know if they have relevant patent rights? This is a question that investors frequently ask. So you need to investigate that. Whether you do this yourself, or have it done; it must be done. Otherwise you run the risk of developing a product that infringes on someone else’s intellectual property. Which brings me to the next point.
REASON 2: WE CAN STILL EASILY ADJUST THE DESIGN
The earlier you know about third-party patent rights, the easier it often is to make minor adjustments to a design. These adjustments may make it possible to design around the existing patents and still be able to enter the market without infringing them. This can of course also be done at a later stage, but is then often much more expensive. The conversion of an entire production line costs more than adapting a concept.
REASON 3: WE CAN DISCUSS R&D RESULTS AT AN EARLY STAGE
Innovative entrepreneurs often overlook two things in the development process. First, they often do not realize that they are making simple but valuable inventions. In addition, they sometimes disclose new products before they are patented. In that case, that invention no longer meets the novelty requirement and they can no longer patent it. By discussing the R&D results with a patent attorney at an early stage, you can avoid these pitfalls.
By looking at this together, we will discover the inventions that seem obvious to you, and you will not disclose anything that should not already be disclosed. At the bottom line, this makes your patent portfolio a lot stronger. This increases the value of your company and your position in the market.
REASON 4: WE INCREASE THE CHANCE OF INVESTMENT
At Startlife, where finding investors is an important goal, we often hear that entrepreneurs come across better to investors after we have talked about intellectual property. Because of their improved understanding of the opportunities and threats related to their intellectual property, they exude professionalism and a grasp of the situation. Someone is more likely to invest in an organization that knows what it has already done, or wants to do, in the area of patents.
The earlier you start talking to a patent attorney, the more grip you have on the initial steps of your venture. Many people only take this step once their techniques have been further developed. This seems logical, but can end up costing much more time and certainly money. Even a brief conversation with a patent attorney can provide you with so much relevant information for your company that it is well worth the small investment.
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