Customer feedback is essential to know if a patent is worth the expense – but some people think their idea will be “stolen” if they talk to customers.
What should they do?
One, if you need to tell people about your invention when doing customer discover, you are doing it wrong.
Two, there is almost 100% certainty that you will change your product, marketing message, customer pain point, solution, etc. as the company goes through the product-market fit stage, so why bother patenting something we know will change?
When we finance patents, we are very conscious of the one-year grace period in the US, and we would rather wait to have data to support an investment, that to plow money into an asset that is likely to be bad.
The best patents are yet to come.