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Why You Need A Patent

If you don't want someone else to make, market, and sell the product that you came up with, you need a patent. Not only do patents provide protection, they also increase the value of your business because they are considered assets. Although a patent in not necessary to have in order to sell your new product, not having one may lead to others copying your idea and profiting off your hard work without consequence.

Because patents are considered business assets by banks and other financial institutions, they are able to accrue value over time. Patenting a good product idea now could lead to a huge payoff later down the road. Patents are also licensable, allowing the creator to earn a percentage of sales through a third party. Of course, you could always choose to be the exclusive manufacturer of your patented product as well.

Patents last 20 years from the filing date, which means your idea will remain yours for a while. Having a patent also helps to reduce the number of competitors within your market.

Tips to Applying for a Patent
Think you're ready to apply for a patent? Here's how to get started:

- Do research of similar products to ensure that a patent for your product doesn't already exist.
- Contact the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office and file an application for a patent. The filing fee for small businesses is $150.00, but other required fees often bring the final cost of acquiring a patent to about $1,200.00
- Make sure to put time into the application process. Include drawings and detailed descriptions.
It may take a few days to complete.
- It may be wise to hire an attorney to help with the process. It's better to be safe in the process than to risk jeopardizing your idea.
- Business methods, manufacturing processes, mechanical ideas, and software ideas can all be patented. Mathmatical equations and formulas, abstract ideas, and natural phenomenon can not be patented.
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