Offensive Patent Strategies

The Submarine Strategy

The submarine strategy is a valid business strategy that lets the market for an idea develop before a patent is asserted. This is one of the riskiest strategies, but has the corresponding payoff. There are legal risks as well as business risks, and this strategy tends to have the largest costs as well.

In this strategy, the patentee seeks to cover technology that will become commonplace in the future. Rather than asserting the patent right away, the patentee may keep the patent quiet and let the market develop for the technology. The patentee hopes that the technology will become widely used and a ‘standard’ in the industry. At this point, the patentee may begin asserting the patent against one or more infringers.

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Offensive Development and Licensing of a Patent Portfolio

One or more patents can be developed for a licensing strategy in conjunction with or separate from a company’s main product.

There are some technologies that are so large that one company may not have the resources to bring the technology to market or where the developing company does not have the interest in fully exploiting the technology.

In this strategy, the patent portfolio is developed with an intent to offer a licensing agreement to one or more other companies, presumably for royalty income.

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Offensive Protection of Marketplace

A very common use for patents is to enforce those patents against infringers in the marketplace. This strategy can be much more complex and risky than it seems.

In the simplistic view, this patent strategy involves protecting the products of the business by writing patents that cover the key elements of a company’s business. These patents serve as roadblocks for potential competitors and are designed to make a competitor go a long way to design around a product.

This is the classic patent strategy.

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