While doing research and development, we often found some creative ideas, processes, and concepts that don't exist. As an inventor, you hold the right to enjoy all the benefits of what you have invented and obtaining a patent can provide you the legal protection for that. Since the US patent law changed to first-to-file system from first-to-invent in 2013, so you need to be very quick in IP application filing.
The patenting process is quite complex and time-consuming, and includes various phases like IP application filing, drafting, drawing, office actions, and management.
Before you hire a patent agent to prepare the required documents for the process, you should do homework; what are the key features of your invention, how to monetize it, market research to analyze customers' needs, competitors' activities, etc.
Here are the important three parameters you should work on when filing an IP application:
1. Prior art search:
A general rule of obtaining patent is your invention should be unique and novel. So, it is better to check patentability of your invention before/during the patent application filing process rather than getting rejection from the intellectual property office later on. You can search for the prior arts in the country/region you want to get IP protection, and find out if its features meet the required IP uniqueness standards.
2. Market Mapping and Landscape Analysis:
Competition is one of the main barriers to success. There might be companies already practicing in the areas your invention belongs to, and you should do complete research about them. Market mapping and landscape analysis can help you to identify top players, current and upcoming product launches, and recent business deals in the target markets of your invention. You can get the information by industry type, revenue, total sales, and other parameters.
"Why market research is necessary at all" is the question you might have as an inventor. Well, according to an article published in HubSpot, Firms that regularly research their client markets (at least quarterly) grow more than ten times faster than firms that don't conduct research. However, market analysis not only promotes business growth, but, accelerate profits as well.
According to Hinge's report on effects of research on growth and profitability, firms that conducted frequent market research realized 19.9% profitability, whereas firms that did not conduct research reported only 11% profitability.
According to CBInsights "Fail to Meet Market Need" is the No. 1 reason for failure of start-ups, noted in 42% of cases.
3. Technology Landscape:
As your invention is to be brought up in the market one day, you should analyze the high demanding areas, latest and upcoming trends. Spend extra time in knowing if your patent can meet customers' requirements and adapt the changing external environment.
You might remember The Eastman Kodak Company, a leading photographic films and cameras seller, which failed and bankrupt in 2012. The reason for failure was the company's inability to diversify its product lines according to the new digital revolution.
Thus, studying market and technology trends is very important before/during the IP application filing process. It helps you know target markets and audience well, get market-sound claims, develop exclusive patent monetization strategies, and increase your returns on investment.