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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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The Light Bulb is the Worst Symbol of Invention

Invention is the heavy lifting of 1000’s of failed experiments, not a grand vision that pops into someone’s head. The light bulb is the universal symbol of “invention.”  It is the worst – and best – example of invention, but not in the way you think it is. Invention has been portrayed in lore as…

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IP due diligence for startups

Due diligence is essential for any business deal, and IP due diligence is shockingly left out of the equation for most angel investors and venture capital investors. IP is left out for good reason: most patents are worthless. This patent due diligence checklist helps anyone evaluate IP and patents – and weed out 95% of…

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Patents in a Business Context

Why patents as a “lottery ticket” is a losing proposition. A business owner makes hard business decisions, especially when it comes to IP.  There is only so much money and so much time, so how do you decide? Patents represent enormous potential value, and they feel like a lottery ticket.  The risk to reward –…

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