3 min read

If your business can apply for a patent, it could stand to enjoy a number of benefits by doing so. Not only could you hurt your competitors, but you could also get the British government to help you do it.

If your business already owns a patent, you can skip this section, as we’ll explain what qualifies for a patent application. Scroll down, however, as we’ll then explain why owning one or more can add value to your business.

Can I patent my idea or invention?

The British government qualifies a patent as something that can be made or used and is new and inventive. It does not consider something that is a simple modification of a patent that already exists.

The following, however, cannot be patented:

  • Literary, dramatic, musical or artistic works,
  • A way of doing business, playing a game or thinking,
  • A method of medical treatment or diagnosis,
  • A discovery, scientific theory or mathematical method,
  • The manner in which information is presented,
  • Certain types of computer programs or mobile apps,
  • Biological processes like cross-breeding plants, and plant or animal varieties.

Advantages of holding a patent

1. Prevent others from using your properties

People will often take an opportunity to make money without putting in any hard work. However, such behaviour has also been the driving force behind furthering science and advancing technology for thousands.

Get something patented and your competitors are legally forbidden from copying you, so why wouldn’t you? Apple won over $1 billion from Samsung for a patent infringement on the iPhone, not a small sum to get off a direct competitor.

Furthermore, you could take an extreme option and optimistically patent products that are not actually possible to create yet, click here to see a list of patents that some of the tech giants have already applied.

2. Make money by licensing your patents

If you licence your patent, you could make money by allowing others to make use of your innovative product. It may be much more cost-effective to create a product, patent it, and then license it. This would mean you needn’t take the time to build an entire business, market it, sell it, or distribute it.

If you licence a patent to another business, you can effortlessly earn a cut of the profits that they generate.

3. Get money off the government for your R&D spend

If you have spent money investing in the research and development of a product that you go onto patent, you will be eligible to apply for R&D tax credits from the government. The particular kind of product or service has to qualify, so make sure to properly research your product before applying.

If the product does qualify and you are eligible for tax credits, that money could be put back into your business in other areas, such as hiring new staff or investing in the latest tech.

The challenges of getting value from a patent

Even though there are huge advantages to getting a patent, there are challenges that you need to be aware of before going ahead with an application.

Applying for a patent is a long, complex, and potentially expensive process if you are not sure what you are doing. You also need to pay an annual fee to retain a patent which, if forgotten about, will result in the patent expiring. This could open the door for your competitors to use your designs!

Furthermore, somebody else may try to attack the legitimacy of your patent and a legal battle will mean more fees are required to protect your asset.