Posts Categorized: Business Theory for Patents

Building a Patent Thicket

One of my clients likes to describe patents as hyenas. A lone hyena can be easily frightened away, but a pack of hyenas can be very aggressive.

With one patent, a competitor or potential infringer has one thing to analyze, dissect, and find a way around. It may cost a little bit of money to analyze, but it is certainly a doable proposition.

With a dozen patents, the competitor’s workload is substantially increased to the point (hopefully) that it is cost prohibitive for the competitor to find work-arounds for every one of the dozen patents.

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Slowing Down Patent Issuance

There are many strategies and situations where slowing down the patent from issuing is an enormous benefit to the client. Personally, I take a very proactive approach to making the patent issue as late as possible where this is needed, such as filing a provisional application. I could not bear the thought of writing a sloppy patent application or intentionally filing claims are ambiguous or need a lot of work to clean up. I think it is reprehensible to intentionally and needlessly drag out prosecution by filing endless responses to Office actions, because it lines the pockets of the attorney without benefiting the client. I do think there are legitimate, low cost mechanisms that can extend the prosecution time to help the client get the most protection for the money spent.

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Another Use For Provisionals

Provisional patent applications give the inventor the right to label a product “Patent Pending”, which can have enormous business effects. The mere label of “Patent Pending” can be enough deterrent to keep competitors out of a business arena.

Provisional applications can be obtained with very little disclosure. In theory, a cocktail napkin with a figure and a little description may even suffice.

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