Four Questions to Consider When Buying a Patent
Companies like yours are constantly on the lookout for new ideas from budding entrepreneurs to bring to market. One way to do that is through the purchase of a patent. But before you take the leap, here are four questions to ask and consider.
- What is the patent’s status?
Most inventors apply for a patent at some point in the idea process, and the earlier, the better, since many patents take years to get approved. Before you decide to purchase a patent from someone, make sure that they have a patent application in hand, not pending review. This aspect is important, as it can help protect you financially and legally. Asking this question ensures that you’re keeping your finances and company safe and that you and the inventor are thinking ahead.
Furthermore, it’s important to understand that lifespan of the patent. In the US, utility patents last 20 years from the time that the application was filed, and they require periodic fees to maintain their enforceability. If a patent is nearing the end of its lifespan, it may not be worth as much as you originally thought.
- How much is the patent worth?
Looking into the market competition can help you determine the patent’s worth, as it will help you analyze if the valuation of the patent is acceptable based on its place and value in the market. No business owner wants to be over or undersold on a deal, so doing your research and making a deal or not based on that information helps set you up for success. Patent research from a reliable organization like GPS can help you gain information for your patent valuation, using comparative cases to determine the marketability of the idea.
- Is the patent already making money for the inventor?
Business owners participate in deals at all different stages of the process and degrees of involvement, but one way to evaluate whether the patent you’re potentially going to purchase is a sound investment is if the patent is already making money for the inventor. This not only shows initial financial promise on behalf of the inventor and the product, but for you as well in terms of return. You should not only know how much money the product is making the inventor currently, but how much sales are projected for the coming fiscal year.
- What steps do I take to actually purchase the patent?
When purchasing a patent, a few things must happen to solidify the transaction. First, you must make an offer to the owner. If there are multiple owners, you must purchase it from each owner separately, as they each have individual ownership of the patent. The ownership rights must then be transferred to you by them through the USPTO, with the owner filing to assign them to you. This can be filed online through the USPTO’s Electronic Patent Assignment System (EPAS), but must be written and notarized.
Global Patent Solutions provides patent acquisition support in order to help you identify leads and decide if purchasing a patent can improve your portfolio. Contact us today for more information.