Whether a company has existed for a hundred years or is just starting out, patents can be a core strategic asset. Patents are a barrier to entry for competitors. For established companies, patents protect product lines from being copied and patents create a period of exclusivity to exploit their research and development investment. For a new venture — which typically doesn’t enjoy the competitive advantages of economy of scale or well-established infrastructure, supply chains or distribution networks — an intellectual property portfolio may be the venture’s only major asset.
The business strategy in an established company normally drives the patent strategy; that is, it looks to products and services in development for patentable ideas. Capturing patentable ideas should be an integral part of the company’s development process or project management. For example, include a patent milestone in architecture or product reviews; include patent reviews in research and development projects before publication of a paper.
Originally published in Seattle Business magazine on October 12, 2013.
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