To patent, or not to patent?

I was scanning a well-known business forum earlier. It’s interesting seeing the ideas that people have, and the questions they pose to the business community when they need help.


One recent poster asked about the importance of patenting a prototype product they’d designed, as it seems expensive to do.


No-one took the time to reply, which seemed a bit of a shame.


A bit of research suggests it costs about £4,000 to patent an invention. I’d say if you truly believe in an idea and want to protect it from theft, then maybe it’s worth the cost.


Going into production and having someone rip off your idea would cost you a lot more than £4,000 in the long run, I’m sure.


Rather than patenting the product first, perhaps it would be better to conduct some market research and see whether the public want what you’re selling.


If the demand is there, then that £4,000 might just pay for itself in future.


They went on to ask whether they need a special licence to manufacture the product. That’s more difficult to answer, they don’t specify what the idea is.


Probably a bit of a Catch 22 situation there, they don’t want to give away the details of their non-patented product so I don’t blame them.


However, the bottom line is that protecting your intellectual property is a must if your business is going to be dependent on it.


Learn how in Module 3 of the Made Not Born guide to starting your own business, which can be found here: