Obtaining a patent therefore incurs costs and does not passively earn you money. It does, however, have a value which you can exploit.
A patent gives you the right to prevent another party (e.g. a direct competitor) from placing the invention described in your patent on the market, while giving you exclusivity in the marketing of your invention. Let’s assume you have been granted a Dutch patent offering protection for, say, a coffee cup made of biodegradable material, and for the relevant production method. In what ways can you earn money from this patent?
The situation applicable to most patents is that they are used in support of the proprietor’s own market position. The owner of the biodegradable cup company, Biokopje B.V. and the relevant patent can prevent other manufacturers from bringing the same cup on to the Dutch market. Therefore, in this scenario, the patent indirectly earns money through sales of the biodegradable cup.
In a second scenario, you remain the proprietor of the patent but license a third party. Koffie Gigant B.V. [coffee giant] wants to produce the protected cup for use with its coffee machines. They pay you a sum of money to do this (e.g. €0.05 per cup) for use of the biodegradable cup described in your patent.
You can also opt to sell the patent to Koffie Gigant B.V. In that case, a legal procedure transfers the patent right to Koffie Gigant and it is entered in its name on the Dutch patents register.
In addition to the above, situations exist where patents can be of indirect value. Thus patents give start-ups a better chance of attracting investors, while patents are a requirement to obtain certain subsidies and tax reliefs (click here for more information).
The probability of getting rich quick by filing a patent is therefore really slim, but in many situations patents do have exploitable value.
For more information on protecting your invention, and other intellectual property questions, contact one of our IP consultants, who will be happy to assist you further.