• Does your company maintain patents that lost their purpose?


    The relevancy and importance of a company’s products and solutions can change over time, often due to changing trends or development of new improved or cheaper products etc. Consequently, a once important patent may no longer provide value to their business.

    This can be especially costly to an SME that operate on a tiny budget. Here are examples of how you "waste” a once valuable investment:

    1. You maintain a patent at all cost and almost never reflect on whether it is helping you make business or not.
    2. You almost never check if the patent is infringed or not by third parties and if detected, you never take any actions to stop the infringement.
    3. The patent is protected in countries of no potential market value.
    4. You never keep track of the development and patenting strategies of your competitors.
    5. You file patents without investigating existing prior-art and/or file a too wide protection that can never hold against opposition.
    What are patents good for?
    No matter what others might think or say, patent protection in general is an important available option for your innovative business. For example:

    • To use as a strategic barrier to prevent your competitors from entering selected business activities and/or specific applications as well as blocking them from designing around your innovation.
    • To protect your investment and innovations against infringement and misappropriation as well as ensure your freedom to operate in your strategic market places.
    • To capitalize on your assets and investment and hence, increase the value of your enterprise, attract investors and build up your market status and reputation.

    3 ways to keep your patents healthy

    1. Regularly perform (at least once a year) an evaluation of your own patent portfolio in order to assess, among other things, whether or not a patent should be allowed to lapse in some countries or even be dropped altogether, or whether a strengthening of a patent family is desired. Maybe you should even consider if a licensing option is possible?
    2. Always perform "prior art" before you file and critically question the scope of a patent protection, even if you get the advice from your attorney to go wide. Remember, what you need to protect is your innovation and not the complete field of application.
    3. Stay well informed and aware of your business playground (competitors and technology) and learn to exploit and capitalize on your gained awareness. Setting up of a competitor/technology watch is the ideal way to gain this business intelligence, but you also need to promptly review and act on your findings. 
    One more thing!
    Your company shareholders and investors are mostly happy and willing to invest in protecting the developed innovations, because they believe they get a return on their investments many folds! But to maintain a patent that has lost its intended purpose, does not generate revenues, or is not defended against infringement. In my opinion, that is a mismanagement and a waste of investment.

    What´s your best advice?
    Please share your expertise by leaving a comment. Also feel free to share this post in your own network.

    Sign up for the webinar
    Please register for the webinar "How to manage accelerating patent costs" on March 30 2016, 08:30 AM CEST at:

    Attending this webinar will give you strategic as well as hands on tips and tricks on how you keep your patents healthy and how to manage accelerating patent costs. After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the webinar.

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The blog will share business insights based on our experience about how to manage intellectual property assets and rights in a smart way. We will also share best practice from working with the world's most innovative companies. Get to know IamIP better by following our key events from our entrepreneurial journey aiming at revolutionising the intellectual property world.

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