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The Pros and Cons of Patents

by | Nov 30, 2023 | 0 comments

The Pros and Cons of Patents

I’ve got more than 20 patents with my name on them. I even took a big toy company to court to defend my inventions. And guess what? I sold my patents for millions. Looking back, I think filing patents can really boost an inventor’s journey toward becoming a successful entrepreneur. But, let me be clear, you don’t absolutely need them to succeed. They’re like tools in a toolbox — handy if used right. It’s vital to keep things realistic. 

So, let’s dive in and explore the pros and cons of patents through the lens of my own journey.

Pros and Cons of Patents

The Challenges of Patents

1. Price

For many solo inventors, obtaining patents is a pricey affair. It’s a long road that can set you back anywhere from $10,000 to $25,000, and there’s no promise that your patent will be approved. Plus, there’s no assurance that what you’ve patented will actually sell. In fact, many patented ideas never make enough money to cover the hefty filing fees.

2. Protection

Having a patent might make you feel safe, but it’s not like an impenetrable force field. It won’t stop someone from copying your invention. It merely grants you the authority to take legal action if your creation is violated. Unfortunately, for most independent inventors, litigation is a costly and often unfeasible route. 

In today’s world, you’ve got to plan smart and use all the tools available to safeguard your brilliant ideas.

3. Competition

For many solo inventors, thwarting copycats poses a significant challenge. Once your product gains traction, it’s almost inevitable that imitators will emerge. Even if you hold a patent, putting a stop to these mimics can be costly and time-consuming.

4. Multiplicity

Securing your invention often means safeguarding the underlying innovation. It means building layers of protection for your innovative ideas. However, achieving this without filing additional patents can be quite a challenge.

5. Competitiveness

To safeguard your creation, you’ll need to stay ahead of the curve. This means continuous innovation, which often translates to more patents in your arsenal.

The Benefits of Filing Patents

1. Raising Funds

Many successful startups owe their financial backing to early intellectual property filings. It’s not always the IP itself, but the demonstration of a forward-thinking strategy that attracts investors.

2. Confidence

Having a patent pending or issued provides a level of assurance to potential investors and collaborators. It mitigates risk and enhances the appeal of capital investment.

3. Acquisition

Issued patents can significantly enhance the value of your venture in any potential exit or acquisition scenario.

4. Ownership

Possessing issued patents acts as a deterrent against would-be infringers. It establishes a clear boundary around your intellectual property.

5. Licensing

An issued patent or even a pending status can be a persuasive tool for enticing open innovation partners to license your invention in exchange for royalties. In certain negotiations, having a patent can even lead to higher royalty rates.


In the grand scheme, patents aren’t a universal solution. However, when wielded with knowledge and strategy, they can be a powerful tool to sway others to join your mission, license your invention, or facilitate an exit through acquisition. Remember, knowing the pros and cons of patents is key to making the most of them.


  • Stephen Key

    Stephen Key is an award-winning inventor, renowned intellectual property strategist, lifelong entrepreneur, author, speaker, and columnist.
    Stephen has over 20 patents in his name and the d...

    View all posts Intellectual property strategy, product licensing, and entrepreneurship.