Patent Law Forum
What are the pros and cons of filing a patent application as a startup?
Here are some pros and cons of filing for a patent as a startup:
- Patents are initially used for marketing to entice investors.
- Patents may be licensed, but this is rare.
- Patents can help build a barrier to entry.
- The patent office is not friendly to startups and sole inventors. It is much more difficult to get a broad patent claim as a startup because there is an increased likelihood the patent holder will engage in enforcement activities, and the patent office does not want to facilitate or encourage patent assertion.
- Many software based inventions may not be considered patentable subject matter by the patent office. If your inventions are primarily software ideas implemented on a general purpose computer, it can get expensive to draft a patent application to help ensure patentability, and it can get expensive to prosecute the patent application if the claims are rejected under § 101 (Alice). Make sure your patent attorney understands these issues before embarking on an expensive endeavor.
- It can take several years for a patent to issue, particularly since the patent office is not friendly to startups which typically means a protracted prosecution with multiple rounds of office actions and responses to obtain broad enough coverage to be valuable.
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