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The pros and cons of a patent

Patents are a reward for innovation, propagate know-how, facilitate open innovation and and protect quality, however, they cost time and money to obtain.


Patents are a reward for innovation
A patent is an exclusive right to forbid your competitors to make use of your patented invention. It rewards your investments in know-how and inventors’ creativity. The temporary monopoly that a patent provides will give you an opportunity to recover the high costs of research and development by getting a head start in your own market, by granting licenses or by selling the patent.

"If there were no patents, the variety in aids medication simply wouldn’t have existed." Jan Raaijmakers, Professor of Pharmaceutical Technology Assessment (Elsevier, 26 November 2011)

Patents propogate know-how
In exchange for protection, you have to publish the details of your invention. This will prevent others from inventing the same. However, others may build further on your invention.

"Without protection we would reinvent the wheel again and again, everyone in their own lab." Ruud Peters, Chief Intellectual Property Officer at Philips (Het Financieele Dagblad, 28 July 2012)

Patents facilitate open innovation and valorisation
Innovation, research institutions and businesses are increasingly working together - on a structural basis or in projects. In those situations, however, it is important to make proper arrangements with regard to intellectual property and distribution of results arising from the cooperation. Patents are an effective tool to achieve this. The joint venture partners may, for instance, bring the patents together in a common pool.

A patent can protect the quality of an invention. Due to the exclusive right or by stipulating conditions to licensees, you, as a patentee, can prevent production and sale of inferior versions of your protected products.


Patents cost money

All these advantages on the other hand basically have one drawback: patents cost money and time; the procedure to obtain patent protection is rather complicated and varies country by country. The help of a patent attorney is therefore necessary to make the patent system accessible and to assure proper protection.