A Word on Patents
What is a patent?
In certain business scenarios, a well-drafted patent is a valuable business asset that can be used to block competitors, establish market share, ease funding acquisition, and enable strategic partnerships via licensing. In others, even a well-drafted patent is a waste of time and money and acquiring such an asset provides a company with little or no benefit.
Should I apply for a patent?
If you had a hunch that the answer would be “it depends”, you have fine legal instincts! A patent’s value arises from its ability to (a) create a tradable asset, (b) prevent others from infringing and/or (c) signal to others the company’s level of seriousness, implying that the company has sound business reasons for investing resources in the patent application process. For many technology firms, the asset value and signaling value can far exceed its defensive value in the early stages of that company’s development.
Why choose an experienced patent attorney?
A patent’s value is not simply in that it accurately describes the invention and is allowable by the USPTO. It is also, more importantly, in its underlying architecture and how well it anticipates its future uses. How well does it support the present and future needs of the inventors in terms of signaling, infringement protection, and so on? Whether you should apply for a patent depends on your company’s circumstances and how much value the company would derive from such an asset. Consulting a patent attorney who understands your technology, business needs and aspirations, and financial circumstances, will help you prepare a strategy addressing whether, how, and when to apply for a patent.