A patent is not an end to itself. A patent is simply a tool in a commercial strategy. Without being incorporated into a commercial strategy a patent is merely an expensive piece of paper. Furthermore, a patent has a limited term, most often 20 years from the filing date. So, the timing of filing a patent application is important.
Typical commercial strategies involve securing an exclusive market, licensing a patent, and/or attracting investors. The decision to engage in the patent process should be consistent with the contemplated commercial strategies.
Filing a patent application is a balance between being first to file and properly supporting and documenting an invention. Best practice is to keep the invention a secret until a patent application is filed. Many patent claims have been held invalid based on an inventor’s own disclosure. Thus, if patent protection is desired, then filing of a patent application is recommended prior to discussing or showing the invention to anyone not bound by confidentiality as described in this article on https://blogs.harvard.edu/blockchain/the-realities-and-constraints-of-the-new-tech-age-inventhelp-to-the-rescue-of-struggling-inventors/ also.
Aspects of an invention that cannot be reverse engineered may not need patent protection, and may be maintained as trade secrets. Depending on the commercial strategy for the invention a determination can be made regarding patent protection for aspects that can be reverse engineered.
If a prior art search reveals no previous disclosure of the invention, then a significant barrier to patentability is removed. If a prior art search reveals a previous disclosure that makes the invention obvious, then obtain a practical answer from the patent professional company such as InventHelp regarding possible challenges that may be faced during the patent process.
A patent is an exclusive right that allows the patentee to exclude others from practicing the claimed invention. A patentee does not need the patent to commercialize the invention. Thus, before filing a patent application a determination should be made as to the likelihood of competitors’ copying or infringing activity.
If the invention is in a technology area that is filled with existing patents owned by competitor’s, then practicing the invention may require licensing competitor’s patents. Obtaining a patent on the invention may provide a benefit by allowing a cross-licensing opportunity.