You will get to hear sometimes that a strong patent can obstruct further scope of innovation. To the contrary, consumers will be benefitted to the maximum if a patent is strong. If you are the owner of a strong patent, automatically you will be able to act as a roadblock to your competitors. Not only this will prevent your competitors from creating a duplicate of your product but will also stop the possibility of incremental innovation.
What do you we mean by incremental innovation?
This refers to a series of small and gradual improvements that are done by a company on its patented products or services or methods. This mode of innovation is constantly used by companies that serve high-technology business (say, for example, Apple).
For example, we all are familiar with the brand Gillette which makes men’s and women’s safety razors and other personal care products. It all started with a single blade but they have gradually modified themselves, added relevant features and remained ahead of competitors significantly.
Let us now see how your competitors can react if you are the owner of a strong patent. Here, two types of situations can come which are as below:
|Situation A||Situation B|
Your competitors ignore your patent rights and proceed further to infringe your product or service.
Your competitors think of alternate ways to modify their own products so that there are no chances of patent infringement.
Why get a strong patent portfolio?
Below mentioned are some points which will urge you to get hold of a strong patent:
1. Quality: A strong patent portfolio is drafted in such a way that each and every feature of the invention is protected and any improvements to be made in future can also be done safely by means of its strong Claims. Claims are the backbone of any patent portfolio. They are crafted in a manner which almost makes impossible for anyone to infringe or even get into the product. Thus the chances of duplicate products negate.
2. Cope with Litigation: Litigation is the step where a patent has to pass the examinations of invalidity and novelty as and when charged by a plaintiff. If your patent is strong, it is quite evident that you will successfully overcome the litigation. On the other hand, if your patent is a weak one, then your competitor or defender will always get a chance to win over despite the fact being you own a patent.
3. Negotiation for Technology: Unlike businesses, a patent has an expiry date. In cases of unforeseen situations, a business or a company might have to shut down owing to loss or other factors. The company might need to shut down or sell off one of its parts to continue with its work. At such point, a strong patent portfolio will help earn maximum value as it increases the net value of a company or business.
4. High Return on Investments: A solid patent portfolio will always increase the opportunity of licensing. Thus you will get a high ROI by licensing your patent.
How to create a strong patent portfolio?
Creating a strong patent portfolio isn’t that easy. One simpler way is to hire an attorney who would do the needful from the very first registration phase until the very last patent grant phase. In that case, the power will depend upon the sources and references that you supply your attorney with. But, there are ways to monitor the quality and capabilities of your patent application from your end since the tools aren’t inherently useful.
You can work on the following factors while understanding the ins and outs of your invention:
1. Constantly do the search: Analyze and compare the uniqueness of your invention with the existing products. Make sure that your attorney gets the complete idea behind your invention. Digging through prior patents take time. You can also refer to free tutorials offered by USPTO to help yourself in searching.
Do you know that even improper patent search can disrupt your stable business? Learn to avoid such nuisances by knowing how patent search affects your business.
2. Build a blueprint or prototype: Holding the exact picture of your idea/thoughts in your hands will make you identify the on-ground problems associated with your design. You can easily discover variations and workarounds to enhance its efficiency and clarity.
3. Analyze the plus and minus points: Best advice is to figure out whether it is feasible to invest for a patent or not. Check if the benefits are strong enough and worth to invest for a patent. Make sure to carry your NDA (Non-Disclosure Agreement) before disclosing confidential information about your invention, in front of retailers or licensees for their feedback.
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