Patent advice for startup and scaleup businesses
Startup companies can be faced with a number of challenges from the outset, including the need to demonstrate to both potential investors and clients the value of their business, products and processes; research and development strategy; and the unique position they hold within the marketplace. Obtaining robust patent protection in line with your current and future business strategy can provide a valuable lifeline in meeting these challenges.
patent applications worldwide
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What is a patent?
A patent gives the owner the right to stop others making, using, importing or selling the invention in the territory and to seek compensation for damage caused by an infringement. Patent protection can be obtained not just for products as a whole, but also for:
- particular components of a product;
- processes and methods of manufacture, or specific steps within that process;
- apparatus used in processes or methods of manufacture; and
- even new uses of known substances or compositions.
What are the benefits for an early-stage business?
Patents can be used to ring-fence your space in the market for as long as the patent is in force. Typically, larger companies will search for IP rights within the field they are looking to develop – known as a Freedom-to-Operate search (FTO). Your patent can therefore deter other companies from developing new products and processes which are similar to your invention; they may even approach you to request a licence, which will provide you with an additional revenue stream. Alternatively, if another company infringes your patent without a licence, you can bring proceedings forcing them to stop and also seek compensation for damages caused. Although infringement proceedings may be considered costly for some startup businesses, there are cheaper alternative routes of enforcing your patent which may also be considered, such as the Intellectual Property Enterprise Court (IPEC).
In addition to generating revenue through licences, a robust patent application can increase the likelihood of obtaining investment and loans with respect to your company, enabling you to develop your business further. Patents and patent applications themselves are valuable assets and can increase the financial worth of your business.
How do I know what to protect?
For new companies, it can be difficult to determine the key aspects of your invention(s) which are of particular significance; trying to obtain patent protection for all potentially protectable inventions can quickly become costly. At Mathys & Squire, we have extensive experience in a wide range of technical fields and are specifically trained to work with clients to identify the most valuable aspects of their IP in order to improve the commercial standing of the business and accelerate its growth.