Obtaining a patent for your intellectual property can help your business succeed. A patent will help give you the edge you need when competing in the marketplace.

The patent application process can be long and involved. So, when should you begin thinking about applying for a patent?

Are a lot of people aware of your idea?

The longer your intellectual property is left unprotected, it becomes increasingly vulnerable. If you’ve been sitting an idea, and only you know about it, this shouldn’t be too much of a concern. However, if numerous people in your business organization know about your plans, the threat of a copycat competitor swooping in becomes very real.

If you’re planning on moving beyond the idea phase and making your plans a reality, it would be a good time to start applying for a patent. Getting the ball rolling at this stage of the process can help ensure you have the full weight of intellectual property protection when it’s time to put your product into the marketplace.

What about a patent-pending label?

A patent-pending label makes others aware that you intend to seek full patent protection. This label could be enough to give your competitors pause if they were thinking about usurping your plans. It also provides you with some legal protection should you discover any infringement. You must be careful not to slap this label on a product as a matter of course. You may only use a patent-pending label if you’ve already begun the patent application process.

It’s important to ensure the application process runs smoothly

The last thing you want when seeking patent protection is unnecessary delays. Working with a skilled professional who can help with each step of the process can help ensure everything runs as smoothly as possible.