Contingency Fee Litigation Is Only a Last Resort

If you are having to do contingency fee litigation on your patents, you did something wrong. Contingency fee litigation is a unique feature of American Law, where attorneys perform some or all of the litigation – and they get paid only if they win. Contingency fee litigation is often associated with the “ambulance chaser” attorneys…

Read More

IP Theft – Starting that “Side Project”

“He doesn’t own my brain” – Oh, yes he does. Doing the entrepreneurial gig is hard. There are countless barriers and endless hurdles to overcome, and many entrepreneurs relentlessly power through them. But stealing IP is never, ever, appropriate. Here’s the fact pattern: Entrepreneur starts a company and takes on investors. One of the investors…

Read More

Licensing Inventions from Independent Inventors

Understanding motivations is key. I was an engineer for 13 years before switching to patent law, which was over 20 years ago.  My engineering career was mostly in the manufacturing side, designing fixturing and tooling for production lines.  However, I had a product idea that I wanted to invent and license products to companies. I…

Read More

Ideas from Outsiders: Not Always a Good Bet

Many entrepreneurs attempt to start businesses by coming into an industry as an outsider. As an angel investor, I generally don’t like these kinds of entrepreneur situations – and I especially do not like independent inventors who write patents in this manner. My preference is that an entrepreneur knows the deep, dark bowels of an…

Read More

Method Claims and Undetectability

Why these types of claims can be harmful to an inventor – and when they make a patent unenforceable. Method claims are especially difficult to detect, but they have another twist that makes them less important than “apparatus” claims. Method patents are infringed only when and where someone does the method.  Method claims can be…

Read More

Unintended Consequences of Business Decisions

Every decision has consequences. Some can be spectacular. My first job after college was at McDonnell Douglas, a (former) giant airplane company in St. Louis.  It was at the very tail end of the Cold War and we were building the F-15, F-18, and Harrier fighter jets. I was a young producibility engineer assigned to…

Read More

Lots of inventors means lots of problems.

There are many patents that have many inventors. It is not uncommon to see 4, 5, 6, or even more inventors listed on a patent. In fact, there are over 200 patents with at least 25 inventors – some have 130+ inventors! This is a huge problem. I understand the desire to ‘reward’ team members…

Read More

Patent Value – Revenue is the only factor that matters.

(Updated 22 July 2023.) TL;DR: Realistic patent valuations are based on *context*. I can tell your patent value by how much revenue it produces. If your patent is infringed, I can calculate possible damages and likelihood of recovery. If it is not infringed, it has *potential* value, but not *realized* value. In other words, it…

Read More

Cringe-worthy: “There is nothing like it on the market”

One of my most hated phrases from entrepreneurs. I often hear from inventors and entrepreneurs who proudly state: “there is nothing like it in the market.” As if this was a badge of honor. It is not. This is a signal – and not a good one. Everything in life is signal. Everything in life…

Read More

The Myth of an Early Filing Date for a Patent

Early filing dates are almost always a bad thing, not a good one. Many entrepreneurs are often lulled filing patent applications – especially provisional applications – because they are told that an “early effective filing date” is a good thing. Patent attorneys who are anxious to lock in another client will push the Fear of…

Read More