Using Patents as Blackmail

A case study on why you need the right inventors agreements for a startup: a former employee turns patent troll. My company finances patents for small to medium sized companies, so I often get inquires from people who want to build out a patent portfolio.  A while ago, I received a call from an inventor…

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Startup Fundraising – Pluses and Minuses

From bootstrapping to venture funds, there are many different avenues. Fundraising for a startup company often takes more skill, talent, and innovation than creating the product or service you want to deliver. I deal with IP-centric businesses where patents are a core asset, and that implies that the entrepreneur is creative, innovative, and tries new…

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Types of Patents

What are the different types of patents? Patents have been the bedrock of innovation, powering the innovations of our early republic, through the Industrial Revolution and patents continue to play a big role in today’s technology improvements. Over 10,000,000 patents have been issued by the United States Patent and Trademark Office, and over 400,000 are…

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Hacking the business plan for startup funding

Want to start your own side-hustle business? Thinking about launching a new product line in your corporation? Both projects have the same steps. Get a basic business plan together Years ago, it was popular to have 30 page business plans that spelled out endless detail.  Today’s thinking is to use “Lean Methodology” to start working…

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How long do patents last?

How long do US patents last? Different types of patents have different lifespans.  All of the answers below are for United States (US) patents. How long do utility patents last? Utility patents last 20 years from the earliest priority or 17 years from the date of issue, whichever is longer. Note that you must pay…

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Pre-seed Funding: You Can Do A Lot Of The Work Upfront

Start with marketing – not product design. Thinking about pre-seed funding? Getting your company off the ground is a challenging task, but far too many entrepreneurs want to run before they even crawl.  It is easy to imagine a busy staff of great, motivated employees working for you, money rolling in, and interviews and quotes…

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I’m A Recovering Patent Attorney

What is Really Wrong with the Patent System I am a “recovering patent attorney.”  I became a patent attorney after years as an engineer.  I went to a patent attorney and I expected my patent attorney to help me, but I was sorely disappointed.  I was so disappointed that I took the Patent Bar Exam,…

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Inhouse vs Outside Patent Counsel

There are Two Types of Lawyers There are two types of patent lawyers: outside counsel and inhouse counsel.  Each type of lawyer plays a completely different role, and the two types are at a constant battle with each other.  It is not to say that there is a war, but there are diametrically opposed interests…

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How to Spot Bad Patents

Investment-Grade Patents represent only a small sliver of the patent universe. Their value comes from a huge amount of research and thought. However, bad patents are easy to spot. These less-than-optimal patents have certain characteristics that can easily be identified by anyone: the inventor, the investor, or anyone in litigation.  Use this as a first…

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IP Due Diligence in Two Questions

There are two questions to ask every time you are dealing with patents: Can you tell if someone infringes? How hard is it to design around your patent? With these two questions, you are 90% of the way there on IP due diligence. Here is my presentation to Band of Angels in October, 2020.

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