Can I patent my idea?
Developing an innovative product that doesn't exist yet is not an easy task. During the development process, stumble blocks emerge. Our team took the time to give some advice concerning patents.
Let's talk about patents!
Our advice on why you should or should not patent your idea
Protecting an idea is a very wide term. For sure when you want to protect a broad concept, it is is very difficult.
I would recommend to anyone who is developing a product to work with a good IP lawyer. They are often very creative and good at finding things in your development that can be protected, that you may not have thought of yourself.
Protecting a big abstract idea is often very difficult. Good patent or licenses are often for very specific concrete things and that is just not part of a broad concept. A concept is harder to protect, but it’s up to you (or your IP lawyer) to find concrete things, within your concept that can be patented.
What you can always do, no matter what is using something like an iDepot. This will mainly demonstrate a precedent of an idea. It is by no means the same thing as a patent, yet it is a lot cheaper. In itself, it has no value, unlike patents or licenses. However in case there is a dispute or conflict, you’re able to rely on it as evidence to prove that you were the first with a specific idea.
Keep in mind that patents or licenses aren't cheap. Especially because the more countries where you want your idea protected in, the more expensive it becomes, in an exponential amount. So make sure to think carefully about what you want to achieve with the patent, and if it is truly necessary. Furthermore, in many cases, it is even more difficult as a minor player to enforce it and compete against big corporates in your sector. So in that sense, it is often not very valuable.
On the other hand, if you apply for a patent in Belgium, you get a tax benefit on your entire development. In addition, it is often interesting to show to potential investors. A patent or license shows them a lot of promise in the development you are working on.
At the end of the day, you will have to decide whether a specific patent will be a competitive advantage or whether you would better focus on other things, where you can beat your competitors. There might be a lot of patent, but there are just as many ways to get around it. So aware that it will never provide a 100% waterproof protection.
We hope these tips & tricks will help you get a better idea of how patents work!
If you’re in need of a good partner, we can always help you figure this out for your project. Interested? Let’s plan a quick meeting to talk this through!