Crystalizing Your Invention

One of the many curses of a self-written provisional patent application Entrepreneurs buy into the myth – perpetuated by the patent bar – that they should write and file provisional patent applications before bringing their product to market. There are many reasons why provisional patent applications are wrong for startups, but this post explains yet…

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Walking Dead and Their Patents

The Myth that You Want An Early Filing Date When I studied for the patent bar exam, it seemed that every other question was about priority dates.  The priority date is when time stands still.  Anything that is done before that date is “prior art,” and anything afterwards does not matter. Examiners cannot use any…

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Investment Grade Patents Need Investment Grade Businesses

The simple fact is that patents only have value when they are infringed.  When I invest in a patent through patent financing, I need the startup company to bring their product to market, otherwise, the patent will have no value. This is true of any patent: value comes from the market wants to use the…

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Patents Enable Innovation – not the other way around

Sophisticated companies view patents as *enabling* innovation, not as a result of it. This comes from a much more holistic view of IP protection. Startups and first time entrepreneurs/inventors focus on “protecting” their investment in R&D through patents. This report highlights a much more sublime – and much more powerful – use of patents. Clarivate…

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Budgeting for Patents

How much should a typical company budget for patent protection? One of the best books on IP and patents is Patent Portfolios by Larry Goldstein. In this book, Mr. Goldstein analyzes how companies build out their patent portfolios. Much of this post is derived from his book. What is a good budget for patents? 1%…

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Full court press for patent licensing negotiations

Many companies want to license their technologies. But what happens when a company takes a license, then decides to quit paying – or refuses to negotiate after the first license runs out? LG Electronics is facing the same thing with TCL, a Chinese manufacturer of televisions. LG had a license agreement in place with TCL.…

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IP Theft by an “Angel” Investor

An angry “angel” investor commits federal crimes by stealing IP. How an investor stole intellectual property from a portfolio company. This is a true story. Sadly, predatory actions by so-called “angel” investors are more common than it should be. An angel investor has a portfolio of maybe a dozen startup companies. This investor takes a…

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Beware of (some) Angel Group’s Due Diligence

Not all “due diligence” is created equal. There are hundreds of angel groups all across the country, and each one has a different flavor. Some are occasional “dinner clubs” fashioned after Shark Tank, where a couple startups pitch and investors might make an investment on the spot. Others are extraordinarily sophisticated in their screening, mentoring,…

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Smaller Companies CAN Use IP to Protect Against Bigger Competitors

“Grown ups” use patents to their strategic advantage. Intellectual property can be a very strategic asset for smaller companies – when done well. Oshkosh Defense, a division of Oshkosh corporation, a $6.6B market cap company, might not be a startup company, but they can be a smaller player in a big market. Oshkosh has been…

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What Is Patent Infringement?

Patent infringement is when someone else uses your patented idea without permission. The strict, legal definition is when someone infringes or performs every limitation of at least one patent claim. This is found in 35 USC 271. Many inventors and entrepreneurs believe that having a patent means they are “protected.” Having a patent just means…

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