When does a start-up require a patent?

Texas is one of the best states in the country to launch a business start-up. According to the Hays Free Press, Texas became the best state to start a business for the second year in a row in 2019. The steady growth found in the Austin and Hays County metropolitan areas contributes greatly to this standing, and the state will see plenty more businesses launch in the years to come. 

It is vital for start-up businesses to begin on the right footing. A start-up needs the proper legal protections so that it can carve out its own corner in the marketplace. It may not be necessary for all start-ups to have patents, but it is critical to know when you do need one so that you can protect your intellectual property. 

Consider solid commercial value

Not every invention or idea requires a patent, but if the idea you have contains commercial value, then you may want to consider a patent. In this instance, a patent could help you remain competitive in your particular industry. You will have to weigh several factors to reach any determination.  

One step that could prevent you from getting a patent is the amount of money you need to invest. Start-ups generally do not have a lot of money at first, so spending it on the protection of intellectual property may not be a priority at this time. You may be able to gain the same protections through trade secrets or confidentiality agreements. The company needs to make sure the right people sign any nondisclosure agreements you need to put in place, and these people include the following:

  • Customers
  • Employees
  • Outsourced designers
  • Engineers
  • Board members
  • Vendors

While trade secrets can come in handy, there are some benefits to getting a patent you definitely need to consider. It is up to every start-up founder to weigh and pros and cons of each and acquire the proper legal protections regardless of the decision you make. 

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