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Making the most of a patent portfolio

A patent is a grant by the government giving the holder the exclusive right to monetize an invention. Patents are individual grants, but many companies have whole portfolios of patents as well as other intellectual property elements such as trademarks and copyrights. They might result from direct creativity or by the acquisition of others' work.

However it came to be, that once small and manageable package may now fill a whole library, and the thing about growth is that if it isn't properly managed, potential money-making opportunities can slip away. To prevent that and realize maximum business potential, it's necessary to keep tabs on the whole package, keeping licenses up to date and conducting regular assessments of value to ensure patents continue to contribute to company goals and objectives.

Factors affecting patent value

There can be different ways to conduct patent valuations. Many experts would agree that gauging cost, how often a patent has been cited by others, and the income potential of a patent are common forms. Others take a more expansive view to gauge whether a patent is:

  • Valid: meaning strong enough to withstand potential legal challenge.
  • Accurate: clearly describing the invention's unique value.
  • Essential: established by virtue of the invention being in such wide use that it constitutes an industry standard.

With those factors assessed, especially when big patent portfolios are involved, it becomes easier for a company to:

  • Gauge what patents have potential for increasing competitive or revenue advantage through licensing
  • Mine patents based on their potential application in current business initiatives
  • Identify patents whose value is near expiration and take appropriate action
  • Show proof of patent use to support negotiations in licensing and transaction negotiations

Optimizing intellectual property for the financial benefit it can deliver is certainly critical to business success. But doing it when the portfolio is huge can be daunting without help from experienced IP attorneys.

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