Hi bubblers, i’m working on a web app platform which is based on a new idea that i have, does anybody know what my next step should be if i want to protect the idea.
Is software patent-able at all?
Do i need a patent attorney?
Any advice on a good patent attorney specializing in web software patent?
Patents can be helpful, but they’re generally not that helpful in preventing competing companies in the technology space. For example, Apple had thousands of patents on the iPhone and yet Google largely copied them with the implementation of Android and was found to have only broke 1 patent.
Additionally, on average, patents cost $50,000 to file and get through the patent office. In other words, filing the patent is only a small portion of the total cost so they’re incredibly expensive for a small company.
And, last, it typically takes 5+ years to get the patent. So, it won’t protect you for a long time, and by then you’ll likely either have a successful business or you’ll be out of business.
As such, my advise is figure out how you can execute the business better than anyone else and then execute it. Facebook doesn’t need patents to win. Yelp doesn’t need patents to win. Angel List doesn’t need patents to win. Bubble doesn’t need patent to win. Etc. So, spend your time and resources on building a company that wins, and don’t worry so much about patents.
I’d agree 100% with @sridharan.s. Ideas aren’t nearly as valuable as the execution of them. Not saying they’re worthless, but you gotta do something with them.
Bubble let’s you get stuff launched mega fast, so your best bet is to launch it and learn as fast as possible.
Thanks for the advice guys.
What do you say about filing just a provisional patent, is it a waste of effort?
I actually do work hard on my product to be the best it could.
But i always ask myself, why work so many hours on something that once release will put many copcats and big software developers on the move, they have more experience in building a reliable stable platform, they have bigger marketing machines, coding new features fast, i feel i’ll be in race between turtle and the chita.
But again you guys might be right that software is not really protectable.
You can fill out provisionals but they’re really only worth it if there’s a scenario where you’d want to patent the corresponding aspect of your product within the next 12 months because that’s when the provisional will expire.
Don’t get me wrong on patents too - they have value - but they’re just not very useful for tech startups. In my experience, new entrepreneurs who spend time filing patents would almost always be better off spending that time executing their business, especially: talking with customers, building a better production, designing a better business model, finding amazing team members, building relationships with investors, etc.
In startups circle ideas are very encouraged to be shared. because the baseline is execution is what matters.
I agree. In fact, I’d say being open about your idea enables you to get lots of feedback from other smart entrepreneurs which helps you both improve your idea and also execute it better.
So, focus on going fast and being smart. Learn as much as possible about your business (e.g., customers, market, fit with your solution, etc.) and just out execute everyone else.
Even if you’re first startup and it’s really hard to out execute seasoned entrepreneurs, by at least trying you’ll get better and better at it which will help you with the next ones.
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