A patent portfolio strategy is a crucial and valuable investment that all technology companies should look into. Having a broad portfolio can help the company increase and broaden their revenue streams. At the same time, they can create essential protection for their main intellectual property assets.

What Are the Goals of a Strategic Patent Portfolio?

The goals of having a strategic patent portfolio are to get exclusive and comprehensive coverage by preserving a wide class of services and products that cover a current invention and other manifestations in the future. Every aspect of the service or product can also be protected with this, such as the manufacturing aspects, the software component, and more. Since patents get rid of other products that would otherwise compete, you're able to access licensing or cross-licensing options. You can also sell any technology you have at margins that are higher profit by creating revenue.

If there are competitive obstacles, you can recommend a partnership or cross-licensing as options instead of going through the patent litigation process, which is costly. You should also create defensive measures, as your patent application can be the public record that lists your exclusive rights. This could prevent competitors from trespassing in your area.

Steps in Launching a Long-Term Patent Portfolio

You'll want to figure out what your business goals are to guide your strategy for your patent portfolio. You can do this by figuring out what benefits your company has for patent protection that is of the most value. When you first launch a portfolio, set up a budget by figuring out how many patent applications you'll file over the next year. You can then multiply that by how much a regular patent application costs.

Come up with a list of ideas you potentially want to patent and then finish IDRs, or invention disclosure records, for each of those. Invention disclosure records keep track of any of your employees' innovations that are related to the company and may be used to create the company's ownership over the intellectual property.

To figure out if the innovation that's in an invention disclosure record is worth protecting or commercially viable, you should consider the following questions:

  • Which one of your ideas align best with your business goals?
  • What ideas do you consider mature and which ones do you think are only halfway thought through?
  • What representations have a better chance of being competitive in the market?
  • Which one of your ideas has the best chance of being patentable?
  • Which ideas do you think your competitors will go after?
  • If the patent gets issued, will it be hard to enforce?
  • Would it be a better option to have trade secret protection?

If you want to disclose your ideas outside of the company in the near future, you should consider protecting your IP by obtaining a filing date that's early. This can be as simple as filling out and submitting a provisional patent application. You'll particularly want to look into this if you want to get protection in other countries. Filings in the United States have a grace period of a year from when the first sale or public disclosure was. However, most other countries don't, which means you can't have your date of public disclosure before your original filing date.

To make sure you stay within your set budget, you'll want to guess what the cost of each patent application is that you plan on filing. When you have an order of priority, budget, and filing deadlines set, you can create a filing calendar so you'll be able to keep track of all crucial dates that are related to the patent portfolio.

How to Use Procedural Mechanisms to Expand Your Patent into a Patent Portfolio

You should keep a close eye on your patent portfolio to look into potential opportunities to expand your product line and thus your patent protection. You should also understand that it's important to get a patent to help move your business forward. You should also think in terms of creating a patent portfolio instead of just getting one patent, particularly if you're protecting an invention that's commercially viable.

If you need help with a patent portfolio strategy, you can post your legal need on UpCounsel's marketplace. UpCounsel accepts only the top 5 percent of lawyers to its site. Lawyers on UpCounsel come from law schools such as Harvard Law and Yale Law and average 14 years of legal experience, including work with or on behalf of companies like Google, Menlo Ventures, and Airbnb.