In any Patent Law jurisdiction, the commercial exploitation of a patent is not at all mandatory. However, if you will wait for too long, someone else would probably capitalize on a similar idea and in no time, shall go ahead with capturing your niche invention. On a completely different side, if your innovation is the first of its kind in the market, people might not accept it readily, and you will have to put in some sincere efforts to carve out a place for your product. Without any second thoughts, the Patent Grant is no less than a trigger for increasing the likelihood of the manufacturing activity. With the existence of a patent, its owner shall always remain confident about the fact that he or she can initiate legal proceedings against the issues of Intellectual Property Infringement and protect future revenue streams. The patent also serves as a warning to the infringers and restricts them from copying, selling, or distributing the invention. At times, a Patent Infringement lawsuit imposes extreme punitive damages on the violators, as well.
As per the various reports and surveys conducted by experts, hardly 5% of the 2.1 million active patents in the United States have reached the market. Somewhere around 90% of the patents miserably fail in getting commercialized or finding the right licensees or investors. The scenario is pretty similar in India as well since no more than 5% of the patents reach the market.
Now, the question that will come to our minds is, “Why do a majority of the patents not able to reach the market?” According to a few Intellectual Property (IP) experts, success in the field of creativity is all about carving your market position and building a positive reputation at the right time. Moreover, in the present highly competitive business environment, waiting for too long will result in others either copying your invention or coming up with a similar one. While many inventors rush to the patent offices for obtaining a patent with a hope that someday someone will commercialize it, others wait for catching the ‘big fish’ infringing on their patent to seek royalty or monetary damages from them.
The Devil Investors
Most of the inventors across the globe only wish to obtain a patent and pay no attention to working on the innovation for making it a marketable product. Quite a few inventors also look for investors, who can commercialize their inventions. However, at times, they may end up running to the devil investors, who will copy their unique innovations and make enormous profits. Such devil investors always look forward to enjoying the fruitful outcomes of the patent owner’s hard work.
While some of these investors operate until and unless they receive a ‘cease and desist’ letter from the patent owner, others are called the ‘runaway investors’ who make money quickly and switch to another innovation before the patent owner catches them. The effects or severe consequences of non-commercialization of a patent are much more for patentees who don’t have sufficient manufacturing capabilities or for valuable and complicated innovations. Furthermore, it is essential to make a point of the fact that a patent grant doesn’t guarantee its success. Some of the investors are of the view that patents are paper tigers, which may turn out to be hollow after the corresponding laboratory tests and analysis.
Steps to Patent Commercialization
In the successful launch, marketing, and promotion of a new product, there are three steps involved, namely pre-manufacture, market launch, and mass production. The pre-manufacturing stage evaluates the market potential and validates the commercial opportunities. With the patent grant, the owners can initiate the manufacturing process. After making successful manufacturing attempts, they can launch the product in the market, promote it, and if everything goes fine, they can go ahead with its mass production. The ultimate path to the success of an innovation is indeed a bumpy ride of expense, uncertainty, and risk. The patent laws and systems reduce the burden of the inventors and help them in choosing innovation as their profession.