Startups and Patents

The modern economy en the way we look at innovation these days demands a climate wherein rapid changes and constant progress are the norm. In such a system a patent may seem a relic from a distant past. Many startups, in their race to be the first, to be the most successful right now, sometimes forget the most important thing: to make sure that what makes them unique today, still belongs to them tomorrow.

Traditional business models within all sectors are challenged by startups that seem to disrupt the traditional way things are done. Initiatives like Uber and Airbnb, but also technological developments within sectors such as the healthcare system, demand an economic system wherein growth and change are minimally challenged. A patent, however, costs money and demands secrecy, which means you cannot get out on the marker immediately. How do these worlds come together?

One of the first things startups need to really get going is to get noticed and obtain financing. Therefore it makes sense to go around to as many people who are willing to listen to you, to present your idea. You become known within your field, you make connections and you are one step closer to realizing your goals. There are three good reasons why should wait that one extra moment and protect your invention.

A Patent Attracts Investors
To get investors and financers involved in your startup a first demand is that, whatever you want to bring out on the market, is unique. And that it stays unique, at least for the duration of time that you and your investors hope to profit from it. Staying unique is something that can be achieved through patent protection, since a patent prevents others from freely copying your ideas and becoming your direct competition. To investors it is appealing to invest in a company that has innovative products that are protected.

A Patents Helps Spread Innovation Rapidly over a Great Market
A patent not only prevents third parties from using your invention, it also creates an additional source of income and the opportunity to spread your product quickly across the country, or even across the globe. As a patent gives you property rights, you become able to sell licensing rights of your invention to other parties. They are allowed to apply your invention while you get paid for it.
Especially for smaller startups, which are initially limited in their production capacity, this can be an excellent way to rapidly make your invention available to the largest amount of people. It equally provides the possibility to effectively outsource certain aspects of your company, giving you the opportunity to devote all your focus on further innovation of your enterprise. Lastly, investors will also find additional security in the potential of gaining further income through licensing agreements.

A Patent Stimulates Innovation
If your invention is not protected it may become subject to copying. This is not only detrimental to your startup, it can be harmful to an entire industry. When a patent is in place, others are forced to go around it. Competitors can learn from your patent and build on it, but they cannot copy what you’ve done. Therefore you challenge all of them to take your idea and do better, to look at the same problem and come up with a new solution. This is exactly why the patent system was once put in place, to facilitate the constant promotion of innovation and progress.