What do I do if I need to consider getting a patent but can't afford the initial costs?
We are developing an app and want to know if getting a patent for the app or at least some of its features is necessary to protect our idea. We are a startup so funds are minimal. What should I do if I can't afford the initial costs?
I could be wrong about this since it has been ages since I did much research on Patent law but with mechanical things you have a year after it's introduction to file for a patent. If it is the same for intellectual property that would give you some time to find out if there is enough of a market to spend the money on a patent,
I am not much of a fan of patents myself. It doesn't necessarily stop someone from using your idea, it just gives you the right to sue them if they do. The cost of the law suit can easily put you out of business.
Thank you for taking time to answer. This is a subject that people keep mentioning to us and to pursue but as you can imagine it hasn't come into our focus due to cost implication. Given your input it makes me more comfortable to put on the back burner for the time being.
It is not a must it is a choice. No one will blame you if you do not patent your app or specific functionalities. Then again I am against software patenting in general.
That aside if you do not have the funds and you feel you absolutely want to go through all the trouble of applying for a software patent you will have to find a financial partner or somehow get a loan to cover the costs. Also take in mind that the application process can take quite long.
I am one of those people that feels the software patents obstruct the creativity of developers and with that technological advancement as a whole. Also as ray points out it will not even really prevent people from copying your idea it will just give you the possibility to sue them over it, a process which also takes a lot of precious time and money and will not even always pay out.
Consider filing a provisional patent application. It is much cheaper to have prepared and to file, and it lasts for 1 year. I file them routinely for companies in your situation. Contact me directly if you have any questions at 978-264-4001
Do it yourself! There are leaflets and information available through your country's IP Office, and then it is only a matter of £30 to file a UK patent, though territories differ.