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Why Entrepreneurs Should Learn About Patents
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Why Entrepreneurs Should Learn About Patents

Why Entrepreneurs Should Learn About Patents

Some entrepreneurs set out to create entirely new products or find unique ways of doing things, while others might accidentally fall on an idea that has never been created. To fully take advantage of the novelty, a patent grants the inventor the legal right to prevent others from making, using, or selling that particular invention for a while, usually between 14 and 20 years.

Patents might be granted for physical products like shoes or intellectual property like software. They can also give rights to import and distribute a product in a country. Granted these exclusive rights, there are several ways entrepreneurs can benefit from them. The most obvious is to manufacture and sell products, but the cost of patenting and production might be too high for some entrepreneurs. In this case, the entrepreneur can license the invention for royalties or choose to sell it. Some businesses leverage their patents to obtain patents they need. This is known as cross-licensing, a famous example being Apple’s deal with Microsoft, which permits both companies to benefit and spend less time and money trying to develop their product.

Before filing for patents, entrepreneurs must, first of all, investigate to ensure the product hasn’t already been patented before. They should also make sure the invention is not evident and shared knowledge. If the invention was carried out while working for an employer, the license might belong to the employer. The rules vary from country to country and follow different procedures. A patent in one country might not be recognized in another, so it may require you to file for a new patent in the country you want to do business in.

The whole idea of the patent is to confer certain advantages to its owner when it comes to the public domain, but doing so sometimes backfires as it can give competitors insight into your design process. In such a case, the entrepreneur should shut up. There’s nothing wrong with having a trade secret.

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