Are You Overlooking Ways to Add More Value to Your Invention?
Engineers are often narrowly-focused on product development. They are focused on what the product has to have; the X, Y, and Z features because they are going after a specific market: the retail market, or the consumer market, etc.
While this attention to detail is important, we believe that a good patent attorney should also be able to step in as an “objective engineer” to help their client look at the big picture. In many cases, the product can be easily changed to add more bells and whistles and ways to add more value to your invention so that it is valuable for applications in other markets that offer very high revenue. The inventor is often just too close to the product to even realize it.
Say, for example, that the invention being considered is a computer controlled navigation device for a car. And it is specifically to find parking ramps. Maybe it is based on some sort of satellite technology, and they plan on selling this in Ford F-150’s. Our patent attorneys may recognize that same technology might be very useful for private pilots in Cessna aircraft. And now a discussion starts with different scenarios:
- Would it work in an aircraft application?
- Would it work in a marine application, like on a fishing boat?
- Maybe there is a unique market in oil tankers where this is a special thing that, because of the satellite, it is the only way for them to find something like reefs or, instead of mapping parking lots they could map reefs or danger points.
- Is there a military application for it?
- Can you adapt it for consumer use on touring bicycles?
We have found that most engineers hesitate to consider their invention more broadly than the current product they are laser-focused on. With a little encouragement, they can be led to extend the value of the idea beyond the limits of the product rollout next quarter. It is well worth a little extra effort to look over the horizon and around the corner.
Even if the company is not going to build a product for all these different markets, they might be able to license their patent to other companies that are in those other markets and generate multiple revenue streams. If they can license the patent out to markets that they are not in, e.g., a bicycle company that will write them checks for the exclusive right to use their patent, that is almost like free money.
Our goal is to help our clients harvest the core idea, the nugget of the invention. What is the core technology that is really potentially patentable? We work to fully understand what the inventors think they have invented. We also understand the technology, whether it is a circuit, or software, or it is a combination of a circuit with software, or it is some sort of a motor drive system, or an electromechanical device.
This process gives us a lot value that we can then write into the patent application and build on that patent application so that the client can then leverage that and monetize that down the road.
A few hours of your time brainstorming with a qualified patent attorney might generate a licensing deal worth millions of dollars. But, remember, most patent law firms do not serve their clients in this way. Many do not even have significant real-world experience in the field as engineers or product developers to envision alternative applications, prototypes or uses for the product. We do. Our patent attorneys understand what you are creating and we use our knowledge of technology and software to look beyond to what’s possible and find ways to add more value to your invention. If you’d like to schedule an appointment to see how we may be able to assist you, click here to get started or simply call our Austin patent law firm at (512) 649-1046.
We were extremely pleased with the level of service we've received
We were extremely pleased with the level of service we've received from everyone at the Thompson Patent Law team. Costs were very fair & reasonable. And TPL worked to get us buttoned up with a very strong provisional utility patent—in very short time—and well in advance of a hard deadline we were up against. We will certainly be working with the Thompson Patent Law team down-the-road and on other patent-related issues as we continue to build our brand.