Deciding What to Patent Based on Expected Value

All businesses and creative individuals share a problem. It is a good problem, but still a problem. The problem is simply that they generate far more exciting ideas than they can ever patent or pursue. As a result, many great ideas languish and are forgotten. Don’t let it happen, learn more¬†

We can’t pursue all of our ideas because our time is limited. There just aren’t enough hours in the week to turn every good idea into profit. Patents are great solution to this problem. If you are the first to have a good idea, and protect it with a patent, you can profit from that idea even if you don’t have time to build a business around it. This is particularly true of ideas that may take many years for the infrastructure and market conditions to develop to support the idea. You can obtain a patent for a fraction of the cost of developing a market, and then wait for your foresight to pay off when you license your by then extremely valuable intellectual property.

However, not all ideas are deserving of a patent. Even some great ideas shouldn’t be protected because their market potential is limited. You can make a more disciplined decision about which ideas to protect and which ideas to forget by performing a valuation analysis to determine the value of an idea.

A valuation analysis should start with an estimate of the size of the market that could be affected by your idea. You can find this information from trade groups, government reports, articles about the industry, or your own knowledge. A quick search will usually give you a reasonable idea of market size. A ballpark estimate is usually good enough.

Next you should consider how that market would be changed by the introduction of your invention. If your invention improves the desirability of a product or service in that market, then estimate how much that increased utility will be worth to a customer. Estimate a dollar value for that added desirability by asking people that purchase similar products or services now how much it would be worth.

You should also consider the costs and cost savings of the idea. If the idea makes a product or service cheaper to provide, estimate the unit savings. However, even cost saving ideas cost money to develop. Estimate the cost of bringing the idea to market, and any increased cost to provide a product or service. Total the market benefits and costs, including development costs, and unit costs and profits, as an unadjusted value for your idea.

Finally, no plan survives contact with the market unchanged. Some things will certainly go wrong, just as others will go unexpectedly right. You should factor in these almost certain surprises into your estimate. If you find these calculations to be daunting, sites like InventHelp take your estimates and do the calculations for you. Use this adjusted value as the potential value for your idea, and to learn more about them visit

Thinking through the valuation analysis and generating a potential value for your idea will make it much more clear which of your ideas you should protect with a patent, and which you should let go. You should consider patenting those ideas with high potential returns, even if you don’t have the time to pursue them yourself. Letting exciting but unprofitable ideas go is also good. It will free up your mind to generate more ideas, including some that will be worth pursuing.