The power and importance of patent protection for any business which invests in research and development cannot be ignored.

Combined with effective policing of patent rights, a business with a portfolio of patent protection can establish itself firmly in a particular field, and can prevent its competitors from riding on the wave of its R&D.

Patents also make a company look attractive to shareholders and investors, whilst providing its sales team with new marketing material. Distributors also like a company to have patents, as it provides comfort knowing that they are less likely to be undercut by poor quality knock-offs.

Patent protection provides a means of obtaining a critical monopoly in a desired country or countries for a term of up to 20 years from the date of filing for an invention, whether the invention is a product or a process.

Strategic patenting ensures that the benefits of research and development can be wrapped up, retained and protected to give you a competitive edge in the marketplace.

Although patenting is an expense, a patent has a high presumption of validity, because the claims of a patent are thoroughly searched by the Patent Office and the claims are examined in detail by a Patent Examiner. This high presumption of validity means that companies respect patent rights and do not tend to infringe patents deliberately. The cost of bringing a patent action before the courts is high, but infringements rarely come to court, with disputes usually being settled early.

A patent may protect an invention, but this does not necessarily mean that the invention is free for use by the patentee. It is possible that someone else may already have protected core features associated with the same invention. This situation can arise, for example, when a company takes a competitor’s product and improves it.

Although the improvement may well be patentable in its own right, it may also be covered by the competitor’s earlier patent. In this position, patent protection of the improvement can be vital in order to negotiate, for example, a cross-licence agreement to enable the improvement to be sold.

In today’s marketplace, we believe that it is more important than ever to be IP-aware. Keep your competitors at bay with strategic IP protection and give certainty to retaining your market share.

If you would like further information, please email us directly here or call +44 (0) 1242 691 801 to speak to a qualified British and European patent attorney.