Angel Investing

Provisional Patent Applications Hurt Startups

Bad Strategies for Startup Patents The patent bar does a terrible job of serving smaller clients – and provisional patent applications are a glaring example. In fact, they are taking advantage of them and causing harm to the clients they are supposed to serve. The graph shows a recent snapshot of office actions over the…

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Betting on the Home Run

Angel investing requires analyzing the ability of the entrepreneur to make their business happen. Entrepreneurs who bet everything on a single home run are very poor investments. It is much better to find the “grinder” startup who is willing to do the hard work. Betting on the home run – instead of being a “grinder”…

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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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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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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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My first invention

My first job out of college was at McDonnell Aircraft in St. Louis.  At the time, we made military fighter jets: the F-15, F-18, and Harrier AV-8B.  I was assigned to a little research group exploring different ways to use thermoplastic composites.  It was there that I had my first “invention.”  I wrote up a…

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Join an Accelerator – and Lose Your Intellectual Property

Companies that join accelerators, incubators, coworking spaces, CEO roundtables, etc. are at a huge risk of losing their IP – just because they participate. Most patent valuation analysts will remove 50% or more of the value of a company’s patent just because they were in an accelerator. Lose *half* of your most valuable asset –…

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