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Startups

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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2020 Has Been The Best Year

Retrospective On 2020 I am sad to see 2020 go.  It has been a monumental year in many ways.  Lots of things were shaken very hard, and many things broke under the stress, but many things were improved. Life is consistent about one thing: change.  You can choose to complain that things are not what…

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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 doing the heavy…

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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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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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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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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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Valuable patents solve contradictions

Amazon’s One-Click patent is the epitome of “non-obviousness” Inventions are not obvious – they have to solve some kind of contradiction.  This idea holds true for businesses.  Startups that can solve a contradiction in the market have a particular advantage – and so do patents. One of the most talked-about inventions 10 or 15 years…

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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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