When small business owners create a new, exciting product, they may hesitate to pursue patent protection because the process can involve a great deal of time, money, and frustration. However, patents bring a number of benefits. Beyond the obvious protections that they provide for the product, patents can attract additional investments, since they make a company seem more legitimate in the eyes of investors. Patent holders can additionally increase market share through licensure. For example, a Spanish company that patented fractal-based antennas for smartphones subsequently licensed the technology to about 90 percent of device manufacturers.
In some cases, patents have led to billion-dollar empires. While this outcome may seem unlikely, examples like Dropbox, GoPro, Zynga, Square, and even Google show that such success is indeed within reach. Each of these companies has patented a simple yet groundbreaking idea that has made it a major business force.
When pursuing a patent, business leaders should avoid taking shortcuts. In recent years, patent trolls have repeatedly attempted to prey on startup owners without much experience with patent law. These trolls take advantage of inexperience and offer terrible terms in exchange for promises of bypassing the complicated processes involved.