Carefully plan your patent application so that your patent gives you the protection you need. The following questions will help you define a patenting strategy:
What is different about your invention? Is it better to patent the finished product, a part of it or the method for manufacturing the product – or all three? For example, it can make sense to patent a gear mechanism as well as the entire machine containing this mechanism. The mechanism is then protected across the board even if it's used in other products.
You need to protect your invention in those countries in particular in which you want to manufacture or market it – both currently and in the future. It isn't necessary to protect your invention in those markets in which you don't want to exclude others from commercially exploiting your invention.
Maybe you'd like the patent to be granted quickly because you want to licence your invention or look for investors. If you’re applying for a Swiss patent, you can also request an expedited procedure.
Or maybe you need some time because you don't know in which countries you want to protect your invention yet. In this case, a longer procedure is beneficial.
When you file the application is also crucial. With an expedited application, it's less likely that someone will get there before you. However, if the invention isn't finished yet, it's more beneficial to keep on developing it first.
You will have to watch the markets yourself to establish any infringement of your patent and – if necessary – defend your IP right in court.
You pay a fee for each country in which you want to protect your invention. The fees usually increase as the patent gets older. In addition, there are also costs and expenses for the application procedure, any necessary translations and consulting fees, patent searches, market monitoring and enforcing your rights.
Optimum protection is different for each invention and every company. For example, it can depend on the sector or the respective market environment, the individual willingness to take a risk and the extent to which there is a risk of infringement. The needs of investors and customers also play a role.
It may be worth seeking the advice of a patent attorney to help draft the patent strategy.
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