Why get a Patent?
A Patent will prevent another from practicing your invention. Further, it creates a piece of property that you can protect and keep others from treading upon. This includes products, software, methods, processes, and more. Having a patent deters others from entering the market or competing with you. You can stop infringing goods at the border before they enter and show the world that you are serious about your invention. If you do not protect your rights, someone else will take them.
How Your Competitors Use Patents
The number of patents filed in the United States is growing tremendously. Your competitors and others in the market are currently filing close to 200,000 patents a year in the United States alone. The trend is increasing rapidly.
With decisions by the Supreme Court to allow both software patents and business method patents, the number of patents in the United States is exploding.
Counterfeit products from China accounted for 81% of seized products according to U.S. Customs Border Protection. If you don't protect your intellectual property, it will be copied and sold for a fraction of your cost. Read on for a further example.
Example: Vonage's Intellectual Property Woes
Vonage, the first company to mass market Voice over IP (VOIP) phone technology proved that VOIP could be done. With a mass marketing campaign worth hundreds of millions of dollars per year, Vonage deployed a disruptive technology and garnered over 2 million phone lines.
However, while Vonage spent hundreds of millions of dollars on advertising, not one Patent was issued for Vonage's technology.
"Deaths come in threes with the latest lawsuit against Vonage Holdings Corp . . ." - Douglas A. McIntyre, 24/7 Wall Street, 10/2007
The big phone companies - AT&T, Verizon, Sprint, and others immediately began to assert their Intellectual Property rights. By April 2007, Vonage ceased to be a threat. Marketing dollars were replaced with lawyer fees and large cash settlements.
Marketing will get your business only so far. Without intellectual property protection, within three years almost any successful business model or product will be duplicated and resold. Today, almost every cable company and phone company as well as a large variety of individual.
Bottom line: Had Vonage invested even 1% of their marketing dollars into Intellectual Property protection, they would likely still be a relevant company today.
Example: AT&T's Intellectual Property Success
AT&T has a long history of Intellectual Property protection, licensing deals, and shared technology agreements with other companies.
Combined with marketing and introduction of new products from Caller ID to an iPhone running solely on its network, AT&T continues thriving into it's third decade.
"AT&T reported revenue of $29 billion for the quarter ending March 31, far above the $15.8 billion it earned in the first quarter last year." - InfoWorld, 4/2007
Bottom Line: Combined with innovative products, good marketing, and a vast array of intellectual property protection, AT&T continues to thrive.