For new inventors and business owners especially, it's important to view patenting fundamentally as a business decision. Thinking of patenting in these terms helps you fit it into an overall business strategy and therefore intelligently reap its benefits.
Beyond legal requirements - an integral component of business strategy
The basic legal requirements for a patent are summarized in many websites and don't need to be restated here. The fundamental thing to consider in this post is, long before consulting with a patent attorney, have you determined whether a patent would actually support your business strategy? This question presumes you've formulated a business strategy that accounts for your use or holding of patents.
Just because legal requirements leave open the possibility of a patent, what makes applying for it a smart business decision? What's your goal - to bring an invention to market? To keep the invention out of competitors' hands? To use the invention as a stepping stone toward another invention? What's the state of the art? How is your R&D funding? These and many other considerations factor into whether or not patenting actually supports your strategy.
Value of business counsel in the decision-making process
Although a patent attorney can guide you through the intricacies of the filing process, it's worth meeting with business counsel to ensure patenting would actually support your short- or long-term strategies. Business counsel can explain how intellectual property impacts other aspects of your business. You may come away from the meeting with a greater sense of what owning intellectual property will actually "look like", and be more prepared for what ownership will legally entail.
Inventing is a process that can be messy, costly, and unpredictable. Before investing substantial time and resources in pursuing a patent, make sure patenting fits into your overall business strategy.
This post is informational and should not be considered legal advice. For further questions regarding the subject matter, it is best to consult with an attorney.