The path to success is something that all companies seek to increase when they protect their industrial property (IP) assets. This path depends largely on the market potential of the developed solution to the existing technical problem.
However, in our role as specialized agents in strategic advice on patents we have the opportunity to monitor the way some applicants are able to maximize the protection obtained with their patents.
Based on our expertise, we present five behaviors that we consider essential for maximizing the protection and potential success:
1. Applicants realize the economic advantage of its patents
Applicants who have higher rates of success do not seek the patent approvals to just “hang” the titles on the wall, as if they were trophies. Rather, their purpose is to exclude competitors from a particular technological field, thus to enable a competitive advantage with repercussions on their sales figures and respectively in their results.
2. Applicants create technical teams to contact with patent agents
Applicants who have higher success rates create teams of technical personnel with training in patents so that they can understand the IP strategy of the company and be the interface with the patent agents.
These teams can, and should, have significant contributions not only in the inventive act, but also in the review of the state of the art, the analysis of alternatives not yet protected, determining the characteristics that are important to protect and understanding what competitors are developing.
During the process, these teams can make a very important contribution in defining the characteristics that may be corrected in response to an official notification and that do not put the economic value of patents at risk.
For these teams, it should be established a very good incentive program for recognition of the inventors.
3. Applicants continuously monitor patent applications of their competitors
The successful applicants keep a close watch on the patent of their competitors. This information lets them know in advance what each competitor is developing, enabling immediately the start of offensive or defensive strategies to protect their market position, such as the submission of third party comments and/or oppositions at the official offices.
4. Applicants continuously perform reviews on their portfolio
In many cases, patent applications are filed before any development tests or proofs of concept. Successful applicants should undertake revisions of their portfolio in order to verify that the products placed on the market are still related to their IP assets.
These reviews must be cyclical over the lifetime of the product/process to check if it has suffered any significant change, or even if the market where that patent or patent application is active is still a strategic country/region.
5. Applicants establish a specific budget for IP assets
No company has an unlimited budget to protect its assets. Thus, it is extremely important to channel resources to patent applications with greater likelihood of economic return.
Throughout the process there is an immense of unforeseen problems that could occur, so companies with large patent portfolios would be able to perform adjustments in their patent strategy in line with their marketing, internationalization and attack to the competition strategy, at any given time.
Our expertise tells us that these points are not unique to obtain a winning strategy of patent protection, but they are a fairly solid base from which success can be achieved.