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The Usefulness Of A Patent

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First, what is a patent? It is a protection granted by the government to reward an inventor and the fruit of his ingenuity. A patent allows you to obtain a monopoly, i.e. absolute control, over an invention. This control gives a certain value to the invention: it will not be possible to copy or imitate the invention protected by patent. It gives its holder the "exclusive right, faculty and privilege to make, construct, exploit and sell to others, for their exploitation, the subject matter of the invention". 

Thus, an attempt to reproduce the invention could have serious repercussions: the patent holder could then assert his property rights on his invention, and the smart guy who thought he could imitate this famous invention would find himself in a delicate situation. This situation would be even more serious if the patent holder had suffered any damage.

Thus, the monopoly granted by the patent protection to the invention makes it very interesting: since no direct competition (copies offering exactly the same thing) can be present on the market, the inventor can then set the price he wants. This monopoly lasts for 20 years. Some would be tempted to say that this is an exaggeration as to its length, but taking a step back, it is easy to see that, with today's progress, inventing something totally new is not done without resources. The legislator, therefore, found it fair and equitable to give protection to this length.

To own a patent is also to own a certain advantage for multiple reasons.

First, as a researcher, it shows that your genius and creativity are such that you have a monopoly on one or more of your ideas. Your credibility will not suffer at all; on the contrary, it will allow you to secure your position in negotiation situations, for example.

Also, a non-negligible advantage, economic spin-offs can come directly from it. As explained above, the monopoly is exclusive to the researcher. The researcher can therefore demand royalties, i.e. money paid in exchange for the use, restrictive or not, of the invention. These royalties can constitute a source of income: some even go so far as to split the permission to use the patent by granting licenses for several specific uses. Each of these licenses is a contract in itself and applies only between the inventor and the licensee.

In summary, the main advantage of a patent is that it constitutes a source of income that can depend on the case, be much more important than a simple publication. Nothing prevents the researcher from publishing; however, he must be careful in disclosing these results if a patent is pending: the information protected by the patent must not be known to the public. 

If you're new, you could possibly seek help from professionals like InventHelp that help individuals and companies to turn their ideas into innovations and protect them. Here are some resources that might be helpful:

If it is already in the public domain, the patent cannot be granted. The value generated produces what is called "intangible assets", i.e. wealth that is not materially held in the hand, but which is nevertheless of capital importance: many companies thus expose their patent portfolio, attracting the interest of shareholders.

The patent thus fulfills two functions: it ensures the public disclosure of inventions (instead of being hidden, among other things through trade secrets) and thus allows the general advancement of knowledge. In exchange for this disclosure, the patent holder has an important financial monopoly, which he can use as he sees fit and which often gives him additional credibility to his expertise.

However... how does one get a patent? It sounds fantastic! Is it simple?

Alas, a patent can only be granted under certain conditions. The next article in this mini-series will deal with the essential criteria that an invention must meet to be patentable.