A patent is a legal means for you to prevent others from making use of an invention. It is also a piece of property in its own right that can be bought and sold, licensed and so on. If somebody makes unauthorised use of your patented invention then – in appropriate circumstances – the patent gives you a basis to sue. A patent can also serve as a visible deterrent to competitors wishing to imitate your technology.
The term “invention” in this context is impossible to define but if you have solved a real problem in a new way, and if that solution has commercial importance, then it’s worth discussing whether there is an invention involved. Odd as it may seem, holding a patent does not guarantee you the right to put your invention into practice. To see why, consider a contrived example where you have patented the wheel and then I invent the first bicycle. I can get a patent for my bike but I will still need a licence from you before I can put wheels on it.
Companies that use innovative technology need to keep patents in mind not only as a means of protecting their own creations but also as a stick their competitors might use to beat them with. We can help with both offensive and defensive strategies.