Technological startups in California often consider seeking patent protection for their intellectual property. A patent helps businesses by protecting their property from being copied or used by other companies, allowing them to maintain a competitive edge.
Patents are able to protect the business methods, makeup, hardware, materials and software of intellectual property held by a business. If an existing technology is improved upon, a patent may protect the improvement as well. Patents are available for innovations that are not obvious and that are new, and they don't have to be ones that are revolutionary.
There are multiple benefits of obtaining patents for business innovations. Having a portfolio of patents may attract investors, helping the business to expand and grow. Before investing, many venture capitalists will first want to see that a company has patented its intellectual property. Patent applications often take a lengthy time to prepare and file, however. Once a business has obtained a patent, the protection will exist for 20 years. After that time, others may copy the innovation and use it as they see fit. Patented property must also be made public as part of the process.
A business's invention may need to be patented to prevent others from copying it. Holding the rights to use new technology can help a business stay ahead of its competitors in the market. Entrepreneurs with emerging startups may want to schedule a consultation with an intellectual property attorney in order to determine whether they have intellectual property that warrants a patent. Patents are expensive, but a business owner should simply view them as a necessary business cost and an investment in their company's future. Legal counsel can also advise the client about whether a different type of protection is more appropriate.