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Patent Strategy

The S-Curve, Innovation, and Intellectual Property

Every technology grows on an “S-curve.”  The S-curve cycle is where an idea is born, then it struggles to get product-market fit through infancy.  Once it begins to get traction, there is a period of growth, after which the technology levels out and eventually declines. You can think of the S-curve as the growth cycle…

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I Do Not Want a Patent I Do Not Deserve

I do not want an entrepreneur to bet the farm on a patent that has no value. It is really tempting to think that you can get an enormously valuable patent.  Then you can dominate some big market and get paid handsomely. Entrepreneurs are fond of saying that their patents are “broad,” and investors desperately…

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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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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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