To a very large extent, a patent attorney can craft a strategy for a patent that aligns with the business goals of a client. From my experience, very few patent attorneys/agents bother with such things, but it can make a very big difference, especially in some business situations.
BlueIronIP is a patent financing group that specializes in patent strategies for startups and medium sized businesses. BlueIronIP uses a “patent due diligence” process to determine the best strategy for your business, as well as to evaluate individual inventions.
The strategy for a particular patent stems from the timeframe when the patent might be valuable to the business, and in what form an issued patent may be used. In an example of a medium-term need for a patent, a business owner may want a patent to protect a new product in the marketplace. The market may take a few years to develop and there are no immediate competitors in the market space. There is no need for a patent in three years, but maybe a need in six years.
In another example, an idea may be well ahead of its time. Considerable market development will be required to educate consumers, change existing paradigms, develop distribution channels, etc. Such a patent may not be used for ten years. The longer the patent is pending, the later the patent will issue and the later the patent will expire.
In a third example, an idea may be in a market that is well developed. Less than a handful of competitors are in the market that is more of a commodity market than an innovative, technology driven market. The competitors may be interested in licensing an issued patent as soon as possible.
In each of these examples, the way a patent is drafted and the way it is prosecuted can influence when the patent issues. It is important that the patent issues when it will be valuable. If the patent issues too soon, royalties on the tail end of the patent’s life will be missed. If the patent issues too late, the market may have shifted away from the patentable idea before the patent became an effective business tool.
The next couple posts will address some techniques and strategies that speed up patent issuance, and other techniques and strategies that slow down patent issuance.