Benefits of patent protection
A patent gives you the ability to take legal action to try to stop others from copying, manufacturing, selling, and importing your invention without your permission. The existence of your patent may be enough on its own to stop others from trying to exploit your invention. If it does not, the patent gives you the right to take a legal action under civil law to try to stop them exploiting your invention. This may involve suing the alleged infringer through the courts, which is costly and time consuming because it involves expert legal advice. The patent owner needs to be able to pay for this civil legal action and advice themselves, although they may get some costs back if they win their case.
The patent also allows you to:
- sell the invention and all the intellectual property (IP) rights
- license the invention to someone else but retain all the IP rights
- discuss the invention with others in order to set up a business based around the invention.
The public also benefit from your patent because we publish it after 18 months. Others can then gain advance knowledge of technological developments which they will eventually be able to use freely once the patent ceases.
What if I do not patent my invention?
If you do not patent your invention, anyone can use, make or sell your invention and you cannot try to stop them. You can attempt to keep your invention secret, but this may not be possible for a product where the technology is on display.