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Patent Strategies For Startups
What Do We Mean By “Startup”
• Not just a smaller Big Company
• Not Yet Profitable?
• Venture or Angel Funded?
• Working Towards An Exit?
• Searching For A Business Model
• Developing New or Improved Technology
2
What Do We Mean By “Strategy”
• Business Strategies (not legal)
• Answer questions like:
• Why file patents?
• Which inventions are patent-worthy?
• When is the right time to file?
• Can’t we just stay out of the patent game?
3
First, the Bad News
• Patents are Un-Avoidable for Startups
• Software Patents Aren’t Going Away
• Neither are Patent Trolls
4
Guiding Principle
• Preserve Patent Value
• These Are Not Your Patents
• They Belong to Your Future Acquirer
• You Probably Won’t Enforce Them
• You Probably Won’t License Them
• But They Can Create Value
5
How Do Patents
Create Value For Startups?
• Make Technical Developments Tangible
• Increase Leverage With Partners
• Stimulate Investment
• Stimulate Acquisition
6
Have a Solid Strategy
• File the right patents
• File early enough
• Assess freedom to operate
• Don’t Stop Until You Exit
7
Choosing The Right Inventions
• How Patentable Is It?
8
Too
Broad
Too
Specific
Not
Patentable
Not
Valuable
Patentable
&
Valuable
Choose Value Over Patentability
9
Higher Value
Lower Value
Less
Patentable
More
Patentable
Probably
File
Definitely
File
Definitely
Don’t
File
Probably
Don’t
File
Assessing Invention Value
• Assess Value To The Business
• Core to Business
• Others Need it
• Alternatives Exist
10
When To File
• File As Soon As Value Is Clear
11
Idea
Prototype Working
ProductProof of
Concept
Public
Disclosure
When To File
• Disclosures Create Deadlines
12
Idea
Prototype
Too Late To
File in U.S.
Too Late To File
Outside U.S.
Working
ProductProof of
Concept
One Year
Public
Disclosure
When To File
• File Early
13
Idea
Prototype Working
ProductProof of
Concept
File First
Provisional
One Year
One Year
File U.S.
Non-Provisional
& PCT
Too Late To
File in U.S.
Too Late To File
Outside U.S.
Public
Disclosure
When To File
• File Often
14
Idea
Prototype Working
ProductProof of
Concept
File First
Provisional
File Second
Provisional
One Year
One Year
File U.S.
Non-Provisional
& PCT
Too Late To
File in U.S.
Too Late To File
Outside U.S.
Public
Disclosure
Tips on Timing
• File Early & Often
• Re-Assess Value Frequently
• Don’t Wait For Perfection
15
Where To File Internationally
• Can Be Very Expensive
• Don’t Overlook Future Fees
• Use PCT to Delay
• File In The Largest Markets First
16
What If The Business Pivots?
• Re-Assess Freedom To Operate
• Re-Assess Value of Filed Patent Applications
• Abandon or Sell Non-Core Applications
• File Continuations to Follow Pivot
• Seek New Inventions
17
Final Points
• Preserve Value For Your Successors
• File Early & Often
• Assess Value Continuously
• Regularly Seek Out Inventions
• Always Keep A Continuation Pending
18
Questions?
19
Lang McHardy
Lang@VestedIP.com
www.VestedIP.com

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Patent Strategies for Startups by Lang McHardy

  • 2. What Do We Mean By “Startup” • Not just a smaller Big Company • Not Yet Profitable? • Venture or Angel Funded? • Working Towards An Exit? • Searching For A Business Model • Developing New or Improved Technology 2
  • 3. What Do We Mean By “Strategy” • Business Strategies (not legal) • Answer questions like: • Why file patents? • Which inventions are patent-worthy? • When is the right time to file? • Can’t we just stay out of the patent game? 3
  • 4. First, the Bad News • Patents are Un-Avoidable for Startups • Software Patents Aren’t Going Away • Neither are Patent Trolls 4
  • 5. Guiding Principle • Preserve Patent Value • These Are Not Your Patents • They Belong to Your Future Acquirer • You Probably Won’t Enforce Them • You Probably Won’t License Them • But They Can Create Value 5
  • 6. How Do Patents Create Value For Startups? • Make Technical Developments Tangible • Increase Leverage With Partners • Stimulate Investment • Stimulate Acquisition 6
  • 7. Have a Solid Strategy • File the right patents • File early enough • Assess freedom to operate • Don’t Stop Until You Exit 7
  • 8. Choosing The Right Inventions • How Patentable Is It? 8 Too Broad Too Specific Not Patentable Not Valuable Patentable & Valuable
  • 9. Choose Value Over Patentability 9 Higher Value Lower Value Less Patentable More Patentable Probably File Definitely File Definitely Don’t File Probably Don’t File
  • 10. Assessing Invention Value • Assess Value To The Business • Core to Business • Others Need it • Alternatives Exist 10
  • 11. When To File • File As Soon As Value Is Clear 11 Idea Prototype Working ProductProof of Concept Public Disclosure
  • 12. When To File • Disclosures Create Deadlines 12 Idea Prototype Too Late To File in U.S. Too Late To File Outside U.S. Working ProductProof of Concept One Year Public Disclosure
  • 13. When To File • File Early 13 Idea Prototype Working ProductProof of Concept File First Provisional One Year One Year File U.S. Non-Provisional & PCT Too Late To File in U.S. Too Late To File Outside U.S. Public Disclosure
  • 14. When To File • File Often 14 Idea Prototype Working ProductProof of Concept File First Provisional File Second Provisional One Year One Year File U.S. Non-Provisional & PCT Too Late To File in U.S. Too Late To File Outside U.S. Public Disclosure
  • 15. Tips on Timing • File Early & Often • Re-Assess Value Frequently • Don’t Wait For Perfection 15
  • 16. Where To File Internationally • Can Be Very Expensive • Don’t Overlook Future Fees • Use PCT to Delay • File In The Largest Markets First 16
  • 17. What If The Business Pivots? • Re-Assess Freedom To Operate • Re-Assess Value of Filed Patent Applications • Abandon or Sell Non-Core Applications • File Continuations to Follow Pivot • Seek New Inventions 17
  • 18. Final Points • Preserve Value For Your Successors • File Early & Often • Assess Value Continuously • Regularly Seek Out Inventions • Always Keep A Continuation Pending 18