You’ve got a great idea – and you’ve tested it, and it works. Here’s the good news: if it is your own invention or your own innovation, then you automatically have the right to it and all the proceeds that come from it, without question. That’s the law. It’s your intellectual property. If you’ve created something new, then nobody has the right to use it without your explicit permission.
That was the good news. Here’s the bad news: without a patent, it’s going to be very difficult indeed to ensure that no other person or corporation is going to take advantage of your brilliant idea and thereby leave you biting the dust. So why are patents, especially for software, so difficult to acquire? Here’s what you should know.
It’s an investment
You’ll have to spend some time and money on getting the patent, so it needs to be a worthwhile investment. Furthermore, it requires public disclosure, so it may not be the ideal move if you feel you need more time to grab the lion’s share of the market. However, in the long run, it’s definitely a great investment – especially if your invention or innovation is truly as great as you think it to be. Invest in it if you’re aiming long-term.
Different territories, different rules
Unfortunately the law of the patent has not been globalised yet – at least not legally. Different territories have their own different rules and procedures regarding how to handle patents and patent infringements, so caution must be taken. There are five major jurisdictions; your patent attorney, especially one well-versed in software patents, should be able to advise you on these.
The overwhelming bureaucracy
It’s often expensive, but even more importantly, it’s often slow – so start early if you really want the patent to be registered.
The legal negotiation
Once you have a patent, you have intellectual property by right – this means it can be defended in any court. Experience tells solicitors, though, that it’s always better to negotiate the terms and see if the matter can be settled out of court. However, it’s perfectly in your right to file legal charges – the idea has now become legal, personal property.
Remember that you have the right to profit from your creation – in fact, the law automatically states that whatever your brain produces automatically becomes your intellectual property. Hence, like the writing of a book or the composition of a song, your programming routine becomes your own personal property. The key is making sure that it is secure; the key to success is to protect yourself from others who are not so honourable and would easily take advantage of it. It’s a reality. Protect yourself and get your patent registered.