Business Uses for Patents

HP CapShare: How a failed product yielded huge revenue

HP’s CapShare hand-held scanner is a great example of patents that come from problems solved on they way to the vision – not the vision itself. Patents can be vehicles for spinning out technologies. When any company is exploring a new space, they encounter problems that need to be solved.  In many cases, other companies…

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Selling Patents: The Enemy of My Enemy is My Friend

When selling patents, it is tempting to think of competitors or direct infringers as the appropriate people who would be interested in your patent. But the truth is there is a much, much larger pool of companies to consider. I was having lunch with a friend who was chief patent counsel at a company that…

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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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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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How to Find a Realistic Patent Value

(Updated 10 Oct 2021.) A realistic patent value can be determined using many of the same techniques used to value businesses. However, it all depends on whether someone is actively copying your invention. How to value a patent all depends on whether there is product in the market – not how “cool” the invention is.…

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Why Marketing Is More Important than Patents

Entrepreneurs have been fed this lie that the first thing they need to do is get a patent, then work on the business. This is a bad strategy. As an investor who finances IP for startups, I want some data to support the investment in patents. The best strategy is to do the marketing first,…

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How Much Does A Patent Cost?

Updated 18 June 2021: The average cost of a patent in the US is over $50,000. The figures below come from the AIPLA bi-annual survey, last updated in 2019. Please note that this will vary widely – especially because the amount of back and forth with the patent examiner can be one or two Office…

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Patents Help Sell Your Company

(Updated 10 Oct 2021.) IP plays a big role to sell your company, especially if you are a startup company. Most people think about building an IP portfolio for “protection.” Somehow, the patent value is that they can mystically enforce their patent on an infringer. The notion of “protection” is mostly an illusion, unless you…

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Patent Myths – “Broad Claims are a Good Thing.”

Inventors like to think that their patents are “broad” and somehow that is good.  It is not. The risks with broad patents are that they are more easily invalidated, but it is basically a sales pitch that patent attorneys use to make more money. Narrow patents are bad, too. (Learn more about this and other…

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