Material adapted from Patent Offense: 7 Steps to a Safe, Secure Patent Portfolio by: Craige Thompson.
Prepared for a Decision
I like to think of this as the “unofficial” Eighth Step.
What are you going to do? What’s your decision?
You now have all the information needed to make a fully informed decision.
You have a Prior Art Search. You have a list of relevant closest prior art references. You have a Point of Novelty report that articulates the Point of Novelty more clearly than you have probably ever had.
You know that with one sentence you can explain to everybody what this patent project is going to do for you. You have thought about how hard or easy or expensive this is for your competitors to design around.
You have thought about how your competitors can defeat you, defeat this patent and make it worthless. If you put this technology in a product, is it reasonable that that product will actually make a profit for your company? You have come up with some ‘out of the box’ potential business strategies for how you can maximize return on your investment in this patent.
You have examined possible different business models and different licensees and potential buyers. You have thought about potential infringers.
You have considered which claim strategies are highest priority and what are your second, third and fourth claim strategies in case those don’t work out. You thought about whether you will be able to detect infringement.
Does a patent on this invention makes good business sense?
We have got an entire plan and a whole set of information, and we have done this in a period of a few weeks. It has taken less than two hours of the client’s time. It has taken about one day of the attorney’s time.
The attorney is now revved up, warmed up, ready to go. If you say “yes,” we have passed all the tests, then getting a patent on this invention makes good business sense.
The iron is hot, and it’s time to strike, because you are never going to have better information than at that moment right there for starting to write a patent application.
It is all fresh in the mind: the prior art landscape, the invention, and all the potential revenue opportunities. All that can be described and disclosed in the appropriate way in a patent application.
You almost certainly never have experienced that complete of a factual basis for making a decision—a ‘Go, No-go’ decision for your patent application—as you have at that moment.
You have probably never had a better situation to press ‘Go’ on a patent drafting process than you have at that moment right there.
Deciding Not To Continue
If you decide not to go, then you decide the patent does not cut it and that the idea is not worth investing in.
You have spent about a few dollars, but you can sleep like a baby because you know you made a very good decision—instead of committing yourself to spending $30K, $40K, $50K, or maybe $100,000 on a patent only to realize it was a poor decision that was based on very incomplete and vague notions. This time, you based your decision on data.
You based your decision on analysis instead of hunches. You feel a new sense of intelligent, confident control—which is not available to your colleagues who make their patent portfolio decisions based on very limited, sketchy, incomplete information.
That is why there is a lot of overinvestment in bad patents. Budgets are stretched because companies are supporting a lot of bad ideas.
They are trying to cover ideas that should not have been pursued, which leaves a lot less money left over to pursue the ideas that are really good.
This vetting process pays for itself in spades every time you can eliminate one idea out of the herd at the early stage. Adopt this seven step framework and you will materialize far more resources to invest in the good ideas or for other critical business needs.
Moving Forward with your Patent Application
If you do decide to file the patent application, you have a patent attorney or patent drafter that has done a search.
They have spent time thinking about your ideas, about your prior art, talking to you about your business, and they understand you and your patent better than you have probably ever experienced.
They are primed and ready to go with the right information they need to make a really great patent application. The drafting is very focused, not wasting time on describing prior art, but on adding value.
Often this extends into in areas that you didn’t even think of, with potential applications for potential business models that you did not have in mind when you started.
That is tremendously valuable added information right there, so that if you do invest in a patent it may cost a little bit more, but the extra value it creates by having this much preparation makes the patent drafting much more efficient.
There is much less speculation or wandering around shooting in the dark because there was no plan. All that planning is worked out. We begin with the end in mind. Everything is very sharply focused and defined. Everybody’s clear. Everybody’s on the same page.
Everybody’s got buy in.
If you say ‘go,’ everybody on the team has less stress and they are more informed. Patent counsel are better able to do their jobs, particularly drafting a patent that they know what they should write about and what they do not need to write about.
The 7 Step Strategic Patent Assessment cuts out all the unnecessary trappings, gets rid of all that dead weight and focuses on the real value of the invention.
This seven step process positions the Patent Portfolio Manager to make a very informed decision, clearly based on facts and clear analysis of the idea patentability, and of the business objectives.
This can enhance your business planning while saving you time and tremendous amounts of money.
It also empowers the patent attorney with all the information that they should have before they write a patent application. But almost no patents are drafted with this much information in mind. Especially not this systematically and this efficiently.