• Expert checklist to avoid accelerating patent costs


    We have published 3 posts in "The IP Magic Group" and also held a webinar this week about how to manage accelerating patent costs. In this post I have picked out some of the best advice from the 3 posts and the webinar and compiled a checklist for you. Enjoy!

    Before I present the checklist, let´s list some good reasons why you should patent, as this is not always obvious and definitely not the only way to go.

    • You might need 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.
    • You want to protect your investment and innovations against infringement and misappropriation. You also want to ensure your freedom to operate in your strategic market places.
    • You should want to capitalize on your assets and investment and hence, increase the value of your enterprise, attract investors and build up your market status reputation.

    With this said, over to the checklist I promised you.

    Checklist - how to avoid accelerating patent costs

    1. First. Get yourself the insight needed to make fact-based decisions and not only trust "a good advice". It´s your economic situation and the future in your business that will be affected. Do not assume that the national patent office is making sure that nobody is infringing your patents - they are not!
    2. If you haven´t already created an IP/patent-strategy, this is the time to do so. The strategy is the business gameplan that gets revisited each time the business adapt to the market. A business faced without an IP-strategy is like trying to play a game without knowing the rules. Start by making sure that you understand how your competition is handling their IP. Then it will be easier to set up your own unique IP-strategy. You can bernefit from using the strategy to lock out competitors, avoid and design around an aggressive competitor and to maintain market lead through secrecy.
    3. Regularly perform an evaluation of your own patent portfolio (a collection of patents owned by a single entity that can be an individual or a company). The reason is 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.
    4. Always perform "prior art" (all information that has been made available to the public in any form before a given date that might be relevant to a patent's claims of originality) before you file and critically question the scope of the 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.
    5. Never start an R&D-project without making sure that you have freedom to operate in the markets of your choice. And if your R&D-project will last for a long time, be sure to monitor how the technology area is developing on a regular basis. You don´t want to have unexpected and unpleasant surprises when you´re almost done with your development.
    6. Stay well informed and be aware of your business playground (competitors and technology) and learn to exploit and capitalize on your gained awareness. Setting up a competitor/technology watch is the ideal way to gain this business intelligence, but you need to promptly review and act on your findings. You might need to take legal action sometime? Without the understanding of your own patent arena, filing patent applications is risky (and most certainly costly) business. And without understanding how the competition is protecting their products, the creation of patent protection will be YOU taking chances. Also, to point out opportunities that often comes when activating smart search alerts - you may find new markets and new business partners that you were not aware of!
    Some last words of advice
    You can interpret so much more than even experts know from patent information. So, start exploring your opportunities.

    Stay tuned for more posts and webinars in September. The best way to do this is by joining "The IP Magic Group".


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