Have you ever been in a situation where you could save a bit of money, but at a higher cost for the long term? Or the case where you know you would be better off "safer" rather than "sorry," but chose to save the cash, and worry about it later? I get it-- we all want to save money and keep a low burn rate. But one of the WORST scenarios you could do that with is your startup’s patent strategy.
Not paying for a patent may seem like a no-brainer for a young startup, especially if you’re bootstrapping. But the long term pain caused by not filing for a patent can far outweigh the short term costs.
Ever heard of the phrase: " if you think education is expensive, try ignorance?" The same can be said for patents. Take, for instance, our latest post about The Case of the No Patent Startup.
In this sad story, Pixite had great ideas and a fantastic first mover advantage – but didn’t file for patents. They couldn’t defend themselves against a much better-funded competitor, which stole their ideas and swamped them with a huge marketing budget. Pixite has now shrunk and is barely hanging on.
We read articles all the time where all kinds of people from founders to developers insist IP protection is not a priority and that funds should be allocated towards growth and development.
But the story of Pixite shows that if you ignore patents, you may find yourself unable to defend your valuable ideas. Pixite thought that they could compete on innovation alone – and they lost.
And you know who believes patents are important? VC’s, companies who have gone on to have successful IPOs and most experienced mentors.
Even Indiegogo, the crowdfunding site, pointed out “Patent applications help startups get funded.”
Facebook bought two separate patent portfolios before its IPO. It bought a big part of the AOL patent portfolio and also the Friendster (the original social network) patents.
Why? To defend itself from Google and Yahoo- and to increase the success of its IPO.
So, you can see the importance of filing for your patent. But you think that you can wait. But that is a bad idea!
Waiting to file your patent is a decision also – to not get a patent. If you wait too long to file your patent after publishing your idea, you can’t file for a patent. In the US, you get one year after publishing your idea to file. After that – no patent.
Outside the US, you have to file for your patent before you publish anything.
Plus, the longer you wait to file, the more likely that someone else will have filed first – and beaten you. It doesn’t matter how long you work on your idea. If someone files before you, they win – and you lose.
If you have an idea for a patent, or simply want to chat about intellectual property & patent strategy, schedule a free 30-minute consultation by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.