Do you spend most of your time in a lab? Or perhaps you spend it before a computer screen? Is the idea you are chasing in hot pursuit consuming you?
Have you spent years and years researching, coding, tackling technical problems and finally solving them? It may be a new device or method of production that saves time, money and effort, or it may even be a new medicine that will save a life!
You think it’s time to go public about it, you want to share your victory in the race with everyone in the world to prove yourself.
If I were you, I wouldn’t do that! You might lose a lot by the simple act of sharing your success with others.
If your idea is novel, has an inventive step and is capable of industrial applicability, it’s very likely that you would be able to patent it.
A patent is a form of protection that allows you to exclude others from manufacturing, using, selling, importing and distributing the patented product without permission. If you obtain a patent over your new product or even way of production, you would be able to enjoy such protection for the period of almost 20 years calculated from the day you deposit your application.
The idea behind such protection is that in return of you disclosing the invention to the public in your patent application, you retain your rights as an inventor to be the owner of a patent. The patent per se has a monetary value, and may even be disposed of as it may be subject to a mortgage sale, or other ways of disposal. It’s an asset.
Here’s my point: novelty in many jurisdictions will be defeated by prior disclosure of the invention at any time and anywhere in the world i.e. you may lose 100% of your patent rights by the simple act of publishing your invention in a newspaper, magazine, academic journal or by any other means.
So the next time you make a real breakthrough, speak to your lawyer first!