Need to understand the license patent application? The process for acquiring a patent from start to finish can be quite lengthy, with some taking up to three years or longer. Longer delays should especially be expected when the application involves patenting anything with a technological aspect, such as software, biotechnology, and communications.

Can You License an Invention Before a Patent Is Granted?

It is most often impossible to license an invention before the patent is granted, although many single, mostly small, inventors will seek advice on how to acquire such a license. Ideally, they want to get their invention licensed as quickly as possible to protect their invention. Usually, a patent protection is a waste of time and money, but there are alternative options to explore, which may help protect an inventor's new invention.

Who Is Likely to Receive a Patent License?

An inventor with multiple successful inventions or a university is far more likely to be successful in receiving a patent license before small inventors or small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) are. Technology transfer offices at universities license pending applications repeatedly while requiring the licensee to pay all future patent prosecution costs. Take universities, for example, the small fees are basically just insurance to cover the risk involved.

Regrettably, the only chance small inventors have in developing or safeguarding their invention is to acquire a patent application and/or to find a company who is interested in supporting or investing in the invention. A well-drafted patent application can provide provisional protection and simplify ownership rights and possible future exclusivity. It is somewhat used as a collateral for a loan.

Inventors can license to only one company and the invention license includes any technical support/knowledge involved. Often, many small inventors are unsure of where to even go when looking for interested companies and many mistakenly believe that if they find someone who is interested in the patent application, it is worth a sizeable amount of money.

Convincing the Licensee to Pay a Royalty

If the patent application has not been published, it may be easier to convince the licensee to pay a royalty to obtain confidential information. If the application does not include useful know how-to information, the applicant may convince the licensee to pay for access to acquire this information. This is really more than just a patent license; it is a license to use secret information. Another way to convince a licensee to pay a royalty is to offer a reduced long-term royalty or some exclusivity while the application is pending.

For instance, let's say the invention is related to a patent-pending technology, which will require training. The applicant could agree to train the licensee while binding the trainee to an obligation of confidentiality and then require the trainee to pay a royalty anytime that the trainee uses the patented technology for profitable gain.

How Should Inventions Be Patented?

Many inventors are unsure of the process or the possibility of licensing a pending patent application. Many believe that they should patent the invention before licensing. Not only is it possible to license a patent application while pending, it is also a good way to obtain value for your invention before the application issues.

What Does a Good Patent Application Look Like?

A good patent application requires general knowledge of inventions and improvements relating to the product or idea. Unfortunately, inexperienced inventors often botch their patent papers and ultimately seek professional advice and assistance. If you are new to patent applications, it is wise to seek professional help in the beginning to avoid unnecessary cost and wasted time. Knowing how to draft a solid patent applicant is not a simple task.

While one might think that describing the invention is all it involves, it is not as straightforward as it sounds. The description has to be thorough and explain the use and limits of the invention. If there is a governmental interest in the invention, you must include the government agency and a contact number along with a statement that describes the field to which the claimed invention pertains.

Importance of Hiring a Patent Attorney

There are numerous tasks that a patent attorney can help with, including:

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