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By J.D. Houvener
Patent Attorney and Founder

JD: I have an idea that’s been sitting for a little over three years. After all the research, I believe it can be patented as a utility. I didn’t proceed with the company because of the royalty fees and other concerns. I felt it wasn’t the right move, and I got stuck at the patent stage.

JD: If I understand correctly, the question is about when the right time to file a patent is. There are two main factors to consider:

  1. Patentability: How unique, novel, and non-obvious your invention is.
  2. Marketability: How in demand the product is, the size of the industry, and the barriers to market entry.

JD: Even the most innovative technology might not be worth patenting if there is no market for it. Bigger companies often incubate their ideas as trade secrets, identifying the right time to file based on market conditions.

JD: However, waiting carries a risk. Another inventor or company could file a similar invention before you, which would prevent you from getting a patent. This prior filing would make your trade secret invalid, and you’d lose the ability to patent it. Public policy and the patent office favor the first to file, so timing is crucial.

JD: Waiting to file is a gamble—you might miss out if someone else files a similar patent before you do.

About the Author
J.D. Houvener is a Registered USPTO Patent Attorney who has a strong interest in helping entrepreneurs and businesses thrive. J.D. leverages his technical background in engineering and experience in the aerospace industry to provide businesses with a unique perspective on their patent needs. He works with clients who are serious about investing in their intellectual assets and provides counsel on how to capitalize their patents in the market. If you have any questions regarding this article or patents in general, consider contacting J.D. at