Inventors advised to think twice before patenting

Michael Hess’s advice to individual inventors suffices as a checklist for organizations considering keeping an invention under wraps under trade secrets protection vs. filing for a patent.

  1. Is it worth the cost of patenting? Ultimately, a proper valuation will determine this. Trade secrets can be monetized (see BVR’s Licensing Trade Secrets), so there has to be value added in the patenting process.
  2. Can you afford the time and money to seek a patent?
  3. What will be the effect of revealing your invention to your competitors, even if revealing “best mode” will no longer be an enforceable requirement?
  4. Do you have the willingness and wherewithal to defend a patent?  If you don’t, the value is greatly diminished.