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Should you patent something you can't make yet?

You have an idea for a new product. You think it will revolutionize the market, and you have not found anything else like it.

Unfortunately, you and your company are not at a place where you can financially get started on production -- at least not yet. You have to focus on your existing products and customers, not some new idea that may or may not pan out. Capital is limited.

Should you still go ahead and patent your new idea, knowing that you can't produce it quite yet, or should you wait until you are in a position to move forward with the idea commercially before you apply for the patent?

Every situation is unique and the decision is up to you, but many experts suggest getting the patent as soon as possible. Do not worry about the commercial side.

After all, the patent is protecting your idea and your intellectual property. It keeps it safe until you are in a financial position to capitalize on it. If you do not get the patent, there is a chance that another company, perhaps one with more cash on hand, is going to jump in and get their own patent. You lose your chance if you do not act quickly.

It may still be a year or more before you're ready to take the next step, but the patent ensures that the idea is exclusively yours when you're ready for that step.

If you would like to apply for a patent, make sure you know exactly what legal steps to take to safeguard your intellectual property.

Source: Inventor Basics, "Patent It - If You Don't, Someone Else Will!," Loreno Lepe, accessed April 12, 2018

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