In early March, Yahoo! filed a patent infringement lawsuit against Facebook. It’s spurring questions over whether or not patent law is too broad and if patent law needs to be reexamined. Patent law suits are becoming a standard part of the technology business these days. As more large websites go public, shareholders in IPOs have an interest in trying to make certain that they can be compensated for any unlawful uses of their intellectual property.
However, high-profile cases such as Yahoo! v. Facebook begs the question: should web hosts of smaller sites seek patents for their intellectual property? In order for a website to receive a patent, it must contain technology that is eligible for a patent. Whether or not it is lucrative for web hosts to attempt to patent their IP addresses will change on a case-by-case basis. It depends on whether or not there is specific intellectual property on the website that needs to be detected.
Businesses that are considering applying for a patent for their IP address are encouraged to seek the counsel of an experienced intellectual property expert. The most qualified intellectual property experts are patent lawyers. A patent lawyer will be able to examine the technology on a brand’s website in order to determine whether or not seeking a patent is a cost-effective idea. The process of filing for a patent is expensive. In order to get the paperwork properly filed, it can cost between $5,000 and $20,000 per patent. The amount of money that it costs to file each patent can vary greatly depending on its complexity.
Once a patent is filed, intellectual property is secure against any competitors. However, if a competitor filed a similar patent even one day prior, then a brand will lose their hold on that intellectual property. This means that, for certain web hosts, it might be a good idea to file a patent sooner rather than later.
Once a patent is actually filed, be prepared for an arduous wait. After the patent is filed, someone in the US patent office will research whether or not a patent has already been filed. This process tends to take between ten months and 2 years. Brands therefore expect to wait a healthy length of time for a patent to clear.
Brands with unique intellectual property should consider patenting their IP addresses. If you are considering applying for a patent then consult an intellectual property expert.