Hello, Everyone. Today, we’re talking about patents. Often when I ask a startup “What about their business is hard for someone else to copy” the response is “ Oh, don’t worry. We’re filing patents. So nobody can copy us.”
Unfortunately, it doesn’t work that way. Patents are much more of a defensive tool for your company to use in later stages to prevent legal issues, rather than a way of stopping someone from stealing your idea right now. More importantly, patents take up a ton of time and money that you really should be using acquiring customers instead.
Your lawyer will, of course, extol the many virtues of patent protection, but I would encourage you to look up the early history of Facebook and a service called ConnectU before you start relying on legal routes to protect you from a competitor.
Investors, on the other hand, are much more likely to be interested in competitive advantages that are based on: technology, network effects, or even a better user experience. Not patents.