With the right intellectual property, entrepreneurs can flourish in their market. Since intellectual property can play such a large role in a business’ success, it is wise to take steps to protect this technology. One way to achieve this goal: a patent.

Here are three things to know before moving forward with a patent to protect your work:

  • Make sure the technology qualifies. Research the patent database prior to applying for protections. A bit of due diligence can translate to an advantage in the market. In addition to helping determine if your technology is eligible for patent protections, this research will also provide information on the market and advances by competitors.
  • File wisely. There are generally three patent applications to take into consideration: provisional, Patent Cooperation Treaty (PCT) and full patent protection with the country of choice. The provisional patent is wise when the technology protected is still in development. This form of patent provides the applicant one year of protection.
  • Note laws vary. Review laws not just in the United States, but other countries as well. Countries apply patent laws in different ways. It is wise to consider the application of patent laws in every country you do business before moving forward with a patent.

It is also wise to act promptly. A recent piece by Forbes notes it currently takes the United States Patent Office approximately two years on average to grant patent protections. During this time, competitors can take advantage of any gaps that are present within the application. As such, it is wise to seek legal counsel to better ensure the patent application is drafted to offer maximum protection.