Forming a patent strategy is one of my favorite parts about being a patent lawyer. In so doing I get the opportunity to really understand my clients’ businesses and objectives. Many times, forming a patent strategy begins with analyzing my clients’ patent portfolios.
What is a patent portfolio?
A patent portfolio is a collection of patents owned by a single entity, such as an individual corporation. Most often, a company’s patent portfolio includes groups of related patents.
Why is a patent portfolio important?
This section could be very long. But here are a few key points:
- My clients and I often talk about a patent being used as a shield or a sword. We use our “sword” to go after competitors. We use our “shield” when competitors are coming after us. When battling your competitors in the marketplace, you want all the shields and swords you can get your hands on.
- For our clients who are devoted solely to licensing or selling their invention, a patent portfolio is important for keeping potential licensees from “stealing your idea” by designing around your patent. In other words, the more territory you take up, the harder it is to design around you.
- A well-crafted patent portfolio may be used for other business purposes such as bolstering market position and leveraging an investment.
In summary, devising a patent portfolio development strategy early on is a wise investment to help your company develop and build a strong foundational asset on which to grow. This investment has the opportunity to reward the company with positive returns for years to come.