This post is part of a series of posts titled “what to do before meeting your IP advisor”.

A common though incomplete approach to define the nature of a patent is to view it as a monopoly on a solution to a problem. After you made yourself familiar with the market landscape in hand, the next step is to understand what kind of problems you are trying to solve and how your competitors might solve the same problem. So, before investing time and money on IP, you should be able to explain what problem you aim to solve, bearing in mind the competition:

  1. What Problem You Aim to Solve & How: – What is the problem and what is your solution. For example – car tires tend to explode with use. This is undoubtedly a problem for a lot of people, basically anyone who uses a car. Your solution to this problem may be using radial-ply tires, which has a flexible sidewall but a stiff tread. The radial ply tire is typically steel-belted, preventing explosion. At this early stage, you do not need to know exactly how you are going to execute your solution (you can read all about it in tip #1), but it is useful that you have a general idea).
  2. If & How Others Will Want to Solve the Same Problem – at this point, you need to understand what things the competition will want to do with regards to tires. Start with the “If” – will others want to solve the same problem? Thereafter, try to understand how they aim to solve it and compare that to your solution.

Thereafter, if you followed Tip #2 on making yourself familiar with the market in hand, you will be able to explain how other people are trying to solve the same problem and what value will they get from your solution. Being able to explain the problem you aim to solve while bearing in mind the competition is a very important step that should not be taken lightly — as it stands at the root of patent protection. Patents are used to prevent the competition from doing something they want to do.