Patent protection plays an important role to allow inventors to prevent others from using, making, selling, offering for sale, or importing an invention without obtaining permission from the inventor. As part of the trade-off for receiving these exclusive rights, the inventor should disclose the details of the invention in a patent document that is made publicly available. Therefore, the disclosure of new inventions is encouraged, and the fund of human knowledge is enriched.
Generally, the patent protection will be granted if the invention is (1) "new," that is, the invention was not formerly known to the public, (2) capable of industrial application and (3) represents an "inventive step" over what was previously known. The first step is the most important step in determining whether to protect a new product or invention with a patent is to understand the costs and benefits of patent protection. The patent registration and application procedure usually lasts three to five years and often involves a costly legal and consulting fees. That being so, it is essential to determine, before you file, whether the benefits of being able to exclude others from manufacturing, distributing or exploiting the subject matter outweighs the high costs of protecting and prosecuting the patent.