Many entrepreneurs and business owners want patents that will defend their company against competitors, but few companies actually have a proactive plan for investing their patent assets wisely. BlueIron IP is one way for you to get the benefit of a professionally managed patent portfolio at an affordable cost.
To defend your company, you want patents that are (1) litigation worthy and (2) relate directly to your company’s products and services.
Litigation worthy patents are not the garden variety patents that you get from your local patent attorney. The primary goal of the litigation worthy patent is to get a good examination. This means presenting the invention clearly and succinctly so that the examiner grasps the invention and can do a good search. The second goal is to avoid all of the many pitfalls that can sink a patent in litigation, such as avoiding patent profanity, providing too little (or too narrow) support for variations, and many others.
Most patents are a waste of money. Why is it that Apple and Samsung each have many thousands of patents, but when they start a patent war with each other over, they only assert a small handful of patents?
For a small business with limited resources, judiciously selecting ideas for patenting can make the difference between having a valuable portfolio and a worthless one. The key factor on the value of an idea is not the ‘coolness’ of the technology, but whether or not the industry is likely to use the technology at some point in the future. This vision is much, much wider than the typical entrepreneur struggling in the trenches to build a business.
Curating a patent portfolio requires looking past a product going into production, past the immediate, short term business goals of your business, and into the future of your industries as well as other industries.
I encourage many of my inventors to do their own patent searches, especially when they are developing new ideas. There is nobody more qualified to perform a search than the inventor who knows their idea and can benefit from seeing other people’s versions of their idea.
Licensing technology from other sources makes sense in several situations, even when the licensee does not practice the technology.
Remember that patents are merely business tools, and they are useful when they give your business an advantage over a competitor. Taking a license, even when your company may not currently infringe, may be appropriate in some cases.
Patent reward systems are put in place by many companies to give employees an incentive to disclose their inventions and go through the patent process. Bosses like the idea because it gives them a way to recognize employees, especially those creative people who toil in obscurity in a lab. Employees like it because it is a true recognition for their contribution to the company. And they get paid.
A typical program may pay anywhere from nothing to $500 for merely submitting an invention disclosure, up to $1000 when an invention is submitted to the Patent Office as a patent application, and anywhere from $1000 to $5000 when the patent issues.
I have been on both sides of these programs. As an inventor and engineer at several companies, I have written many, many invention disclosures, some of which have turned into patents. As a patent attorney, I work with some inventors at larger companies who have submitted the disclosures. I bring a different perspective to this discussion.