What the Heck is a Patent and Why Every Engineer Needs One

What the heck is a patent? And why every engineer needs one?

Engineering is all about solving real world problems. While problem solving you would be exercising an enormous amount of creativity that is unique to you.

Simply put, a patent is a government stamp that recognizes your creativity in solving a problem. You may all have gone to the same engineering college, read the same textbooks, and learnt the same techniques. But there will be significant variations in everything from the way you view the problem to the way solve it. The solution, when looked closely, would be as unique as your fingerprint. And like a painting, each one would be beautiful in its own way. A patent appreciates and rewards you for the ingenuity in your solution. Quite literally, a patent is to an engineer, what a canvas is to an artist, or a book to an author.

But how does patent help inventors like you?

Think of a patent as a blog. It’s where you tell your story of a problem and how you solved it. And it’s for the entire world to read and learn from it. The difference being, while a blog may earn you a few thousand bucks, a patent can potentially earn you millions.

If all this sounds impractical to you, take “one-look” at the “one-click” patent that belongs to Amazon. This patent is for the idea of letting online buyers to make a purchase with just a single click of a button.

With this, buyers don’t need to enter credit-card information or billing address every time they make a purchase. Previously entered information is used to automatically complete the purchase. This idea is so cool, that the “king of cool” –Apple– licensed the patent for use on iTunes.

So the patents can be very rewarding. But what essentially is a patent?

A patent is a deal between the inventor and the government. The government in this case represents the interest of public at large. The inventor is teaching the world a new solution to a problem. In return, the government promises an exclusive right on the solution to the inventor.

In other words, anyone, who wants to use the solution described in a patent, should pay royalties to the inventor for using patented technology. Just like Apple pays royalties to Amazon for using the technology described in one-click patent in ITunes. So the inventor gets rewarded for the creative efforts, while the public acquires new knowledge via the patent. That is a really good deal, a win-win for everyone.

In a way, a patent is similar to a lease agreement for a real estate property. You get rights to use the property in return of paying money to the owner.

Now you might want to say “All this sounds awesome, but I’m just a student”.

Let’s look at some common myths about patents:
You need to a genius to come up with a patent worthy idea.
You need a ground-breaking idea for a patent.
You need a lot of money to get a patent.

While it is true that some of the greatest inventions have come from extraordinarily brilliant minds, it’s the exception and not the norm. According to one study, less than 2% of the inventions may be considered a break-through. The majority (75%) of inventions are actually improvements on existing techniques. Indeed, over 15% of inventions are solutions that one may consider “apparent”. For example, the Amazon “one-click” patent is apparent to almost everyone, but Amazon was the first one to think of the idea and patent it.

So yes, YOU too can come up with a patent worthy idea. You just need to solve a real life problem or improve existing solutions. And if you thought inventing is a laborious process requiring you to spend endless hours in a laboratory, here’s good news for you. Patenting is easy!

You don’t have to actually build anything to get a patent. As long as your solution appears workable based on known engineering principles, you are good to go. So you do not even have build prototypes to show how the invention works.

So much so, that there are billion dollar companies whose sole business model is in conceiving and patenting ideas even if they don’t manufacture any products using those ideas. IBM patents almost everything their engineers can think of.

It may look like that patenting is something only companies with lot of money do. Wrong! Patenting is cheap!

Governments provide huge discounts to individual inventors who wish to file for patents. In many countries, Individual inventors have to just pay quarter of the filing fee paid by big companies. Also, Patent professionals like our team members at PatentYogi, can hold your hand through the patent process. Patent professionals help inventors with drafting and filing the patent.

Alright, so the process of getting a patent doesn’t seem like a big deal. But finally having a patent IS a BIG DEAL!

For starters, it’s just uber-cool to be known as an inventor.
The very word conjures up images of great minds like Thomas Edison, Tesla, Larry Page and Steve Jobs. There’s no telling of the powerful impression that this one word creates. With just this title, you are already a league apart.

At the least, a patent will add huge value to your resume. If you are going in for job interview, a patent will immediately differentiate you from the crowd.

Branding aside, having a patent or even having applied for one is a pre-requisite if you are thinking of starting your own start-up company.

Have you heard of Shark Tank? It’s a TV show where entrepreneurs can pitch their ideas and get a funding. Watching a couple of episodes would convince you beyond doubt that investors don’t take your idea seriously unless you yourself do. And that means respecting and protecting your idea by a patent.

But the greatest impact probably lies in how your patent can earn for you while you sleep. Patents are typically licensed to manufacturers at a royalty rate that may vary from 2% to 7% of retail sales. That means, every time someone buys the patented product costing say 100 dollars, your bank account is credited with 7 dollars. And you can enjoy this “commission” for as long as the patented product is selling in the market or until the patent expires. This is one of the smartest and most powerful passive income streams that can guarantee wealth creation like no other.

But is now really a good time to get a patent? Shouldn’t you probably wait at least till you graduate? NO! Now is the time! The more you delay, the lesser your chances of getting a patent. That’s because it’s very likely that someone else with a similar idea may file for a patent before you and the patent office follows the maxim “the early bird gets the patent”.

Remember, Larry Page filed a patent for his page ranking algorithm used by Google while still in college. This algorithm is the bedrock on which the whole company Google was launched. So if you have an idea, patent it NOW!

Hope this video motivates you to innovate and file patents. We at PatentYogi want to help you get started on your journey to become an inventor.

So for a free preliminary assessment of your idea, please feel free to reach out to us. Just visit our website PatentYogi.com and fill the form with details of your invention. We will get back to you with a free preliminary search report.

You may submit invention details here – https://patentyogi.com/novelty-search/

What the heck is a patent