Myths are tradition-based tales that may or may not be wholly fictitious. Everything you believe to be true may not be entirely false, but the reality may be quite different. We are all aware that myths arise from a lack of knowledge, and that lack of knowledge can be dangerous! Similarly, most of us think that a number of patent myths are true.
The majority of inventors have unrealistic expectations for patents. Inventors believe that obtaining a single patent will significantly increase their profit. Unfortunately, a lot of patents fail to generate any revenue. You can’t just assume that because you have a patent, people will start giving you money.
This article busts six common patent myths, allowing you to view patents from a fresh angle and opening your eyes to new possibilities.
Myth 1: You can patent an idea to stop someone from stealing it!
This is one of the biggest patent myths. The truth is that you cannot defend a theory or an idea! An idea or an abstract concept cannot be the subject of an IP right request. The patent system only permits the protection of original inventions with practical industrial uses. Only the actual application of your idea can be protected. To protect your idea, you must create a technical solution to a technical issue.
For instance, if you come up with the idea for wireless charging and you were the first to think of it, you cannot simply claim wireless charging to be your invention in order to obtain a patent. Develop a workable application of the theory, including its workings, the elements required for implementation, etc.
Myth 2: A patent globally protects your invention!
This patent myth says that a patent protects your invention globally. But the truth is that there isn’t currently a universal or international patent. Your rights are subject to time and place restrictions when you are protected by a patent. A patent is only valid in the nation where it was filed. A single application submitted in a single nation is insufficient to obtain a patent covering the entire world. However, there are Eurasian Patents, European Patents, and PCTs that can minimize expenses and effort when the patent application is first filed.
Myth 3: A patent guarantees that you can manufacture and sell your product.
In reality, a patent does not grant you the right to manufacture and market your product. You do not automatically have the right to operate because of a patent. The goods that will be sold might infringe different patents. You must conduct a search for prior art and still-valid patents that are related to your product in order to ascertain whether it is covered by any patents that are owned by third parties and, consequently, whether you are free to create, use, and sell your products. You can also use an AI-based patent search tool or hire an IP firm to conduct a freedom to operate search to determine whether it is safe to use or sell your product, as well as the patents that it might violate. Before marketing your product, you can make the necessary modifications.
In other words, the primary objective of a patent is to give you the power to stop others from using your invention without your permission. A patent right, however, does not give you the right to use your invention in relation to patents that belong to others without their permission.
Myth 4: A patent is only valuable if you have the money to sue individuals who infringe on it!
The truth is that a patent is a valuable asset with commercial value. Despite the importance of litigation, there are numerous other potential uses beyond litigation, including:
- Obtaining investment funding
- Increasing the value of the business
- Gaining the clients’ trust, etc.
Products with patents have an advantage in the market because businesses can position them as better than the competition. For instance, Amway uses the phrase “Patented” on the majority of its products as a marketing strategy. Similar to this, many other businesses use the word “patented” to distinguish their goods from competing ones.
Myth 5: Software cannot be patented!
The question of whether or not software is patentable has been up for debate for a long time. Many people think that software cannot be protected by a patent and must instead use a copyright.
But in practice, software inventions are subject to patent law. Software’s functionality and actual implementation can be patented even though the software’s code can only be protected by copyright. The only prerequisites are that it must be novel, non-obvious, and have industrial applicability.
Myth 6: Since you didn’t copy anyone else’s product, you cannot infringe a patent!
Even if you didn’t intend to copy anyone else’s product or weren’t aware that a patent that is relevant to your product even existed, a lawsuit for patent infringement may still be brought against you. Your damage may be increased by the intentional infringement. The patent holder does not, however, have to demonstrate that the infringement was done with the intention of paying damages. You can use a patent search tool, hire an IP firm, or hire an expert searcher to conduct a freedom to operate search to lessen the risk of unintentional infringement.
Most people consider these patent myths to be true, but the reality is totally different. All of the myths listed above are untrue, as we have already discussed.