Note: this is a continuing series of posts on various patent strategies.
Patents and patent applications are very effective marketing tools and deterrents to competitors. When a patent application is filed, a product may be properly marked as “patent pending.” This marking serves two very important functions.
Note: this is a continuing series of posts looking at specific patent strategies in various business scenarios.
Patents may serve as defensive ammunition in the event of an infringement suit. Many large companies, especially in technology fields, use their patent portfolios in this manner. In this strategy, a company may amass a quantity of patents that may be used in the event of being sued by a competitor. In essence, the patents become bargaining chips that are played after a competitor sues for infringement or anything else for that matter.
This strategy plays out overtly and in a much quieter way. In both ways, this strategy is very effective.
The defensive publication strategy protects a company’s intellectual property by getting it into the public domain, but while optionally retaining rights. In this strategy, a business publishes their technology before an aggressive competitor can file a patent on the same technology.
For example, if a business is afraid that a stronger or more aggressive competitor may develop a similar technology, the business may attempt to dump as much of the technology into the public domain before the competitor may develop and patent the same technology. If the aggressive competitor were to obtain patents in the area, it may attempt to enforce the patents against the first business.