Blog

Worthless Patents – How to Avoid the Biggest Pitfalls

Worthless patents: they don’t have to be that way. Worthless patents happen for two reasons: the original invention was not selected properly and the patent was poorly prosecuted with the patent examiner. Properly selecting the invention is crucial for getting a good patent. Your conventional patent attorney will tell you if there is prior art,… Read more »

Independent Inventors are a Walking Malpractice Suit

Independent inventors are terrifying for patent attorneys. As I began to learn patent law, a senior attorney described independent inventors as “walking malpractice suits”. His response was to not tell them anything, and for the client to decide the best course of action. The client had to become “educated” on patent law, and he was… Read more »

Why Patent Attorneys Always Suggest Getting a Patent

Patent Attorney Liability This story is not about only having a hammer and everything looks like a nail. There is more to the story. Think about the patent attorney who is meeting a new client. The client is unsure about whether or not to get a patent on their idea. The patent attorney suggests trying… Read more »

Franchising Principles Applied to Startups

Make yourself completely replaceable – not essential. I had the opportunity to visit with a franchise president who is also doing a “conventional” tech startup. I read The E-myth Revisited years ago, and it dramatically changed my way of thinking about business. The premise of the E-myth is that the entrepreneur should *not* be essential… Read more »

What Do Patents Actually Cost?

How much does a patent cost? The US average is about $60,000. The patent process involves two major phases. Patent “preparation” is when the patent is originally drafted and filed with the patent office, and patent “prosecution” is the back and forth that happens with the examiner. Typically, the patent preparation phase is what an… Read more »

Statistical Correlation Between Patent Ownership and Success

The more patents you own – and the better they are – the better your chances of success. France Brevets, a French sovereign investment fund, has published a report (in English) that correlates success of venture-backed startups with the patents held by the startup. As you would think the chances of success by the company… Read more »

Patent Holding Companies and Ownership Issues

BlueIron uses a conventional patent holding company structure to separate the ownership and control of a patent portfolio. In this construct, an operating company has full control of the assets, even though the patent assets are held in a separate company. The BlueIron arrangement gives the operating company full control of the assets through an… Read more »

Problems Caused by the Attorney/Client Relationship

The attorney/client relationship is one of the most sacred and important tenants of the US legal system, but it causes weird side effects. Everyone is entitled to a defense, no matter how guilty the person is or appears to be. The attorney/client relationship is a fiduciary relationship, where the attorney MUST act in the best… Read more »

Patents that are Bad Stand-Alone Investments

BlueIron’s business model requires patents that have “commercial value” as stand-alone assets. We do not invest in technologies where we don’t think there is a market for the patents alone. BlueIron treats client’s patents like collateral for loans. Our investment is protected only by the value that the patents would have on the open market,… Read more »

How to Review a Patent Application

How can you mess up reviewing a patent application? It’s a lot easier than you think. Some comments made by an inventor, even the most innocuous comments, can be misconstrued if a patent ever was litigated. Rather than create a messy trail of documented comments remember the most important rule: Good news by mail, bad… Read more »