When startups take charge of filing a patent, and if it was their first patent, they might not be able to show their best results in the first filed patent, due to lack of knowledge about the patent fundamentals and awareness about the IP filed. Generally, the first patent is always the least valuable patent for innovation. There are cases that sometimes when startups file patent application, it’s not even an innovation. There are also examples available such as the Coca Cola secret herbs formula, etc. in which companies prefer not to file a patent to hide their secret formula, so that it must not be disclosed among all the competitors available in the market. Therefore, it is necessary to learn about the patent filing precautions for startups, to employ them and never suffer due to lack of knowledge or contacts in IP industry.
If the inventors, specifically startups are able to present their innovation in terms of patent that receives its grant, then the government also grants a limited right to the startup, basically rights of protection. Unless the startup is completely sure that drafting and filing a patent application for their work will not get their investment in vain, the startup must not opt for patent prosecution process.
Patent Filing Precautions for Startups
It is important and next to compulsory for startups to follow these patent filing precautions, since it will save you pocket and keep you safe from failure. The following are the patent filing precautions for startups:
- Precaution 1: Do check if the patent claims are too narrow or too broad: Estimating the patent claims is part of the prior analysis while filing a patent. Evaluate whether the patent is worth filing, must be the first step after thinking about getting an innovation patented. This starts with a patent search in which all the granted patents are searched to see similar/ same innovation to check the novelty of the invention.
- Precaution 2: Think twice while opting for a patent: Just don’t follow the track that every startup company does, i.e. to get excited and panic to present their invention for the first time publically and disclosure every secret to the world.
- Precaution 3: Be careful while filing provisional patent application: When it comes to filing provisional patent application, startups make a very common mistake of mentioning everything within the provisional application. Whereas, one must not disclose all the details (such as, pitch decks, pages of lab notebooks, internal decision making processes, internal financial projections, source code, etc.) of the claims inside it. This happens when the startups are unaware that even the provisional patent applications are to be made public, once the patent application gets its grant. Only limited information that may not prove or disclose everything, must be presented. It will confine your possibilities of suffering from a huge loss, both in terms of the idea behind the invention and the investment made. You might also want to read complete article on ‘Filing Provisional Patent Application in India – Checklist‘.
The best alternative to handle this situation is to abandon the provisional patent application, since it’s only a placeholder of non-provisional patent application, and it can be enhanced by writing a good non-provisional patent application. The non-provisional application is the only type of patent application that gets examined by the USPTO, therefore it must be carefully written and thoroughly checked before submission to the patent office.
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