Building a solid portfolio of patents is the most effective tool for protecting your company’s core technology. In fact, a solid patent portfolio essentially defines who you are, since your company’s patents tell the world how much you value your core technology. Your company’s patents also tell the world how determined you are to protect your company’s most important assets.
There are various strategies a company can employ to build an arsenal of patents around your core technologies. These tactics generally fall into three categories:
- Patent everything
- Patent core technology and hold everything else as know-how
- Patent core technology/disclose non-core technology
The “patent everything” approach involves patenting all aspects of an innovation and its uses. Under this approach, multiple patent applications are filed, even for technological concepts that have not yet shown their full commercial potential, in order to obtain an overall blanket of protection. Not surprisingly, the “patent everything” approach is an expensive way to assure that something that could eventually be valuable to the company hasn’t been overlooked.
The “patent core technology/hold everything else as know-how” approach involves filing patent applications only for specific aspects of the company’s technology that can easily be revealed through reverse engineering. This approach carries substantial risks. A competitor may independently discover the same know-how, patent it, and preclude the company from freely using that know-how in its business. Moreover, a mobile workforce carries the risk that at least some employees will leave the company and take the acquired know-how with them to their next employer.
The “patent core technology/disclose non-core technology” approach is a balanced strategy that focuses aggressive protection on core technology through broadly written patent applications, but permits non-core technology to go into the public domain. This focused approach minimizes patenting costs, but only works where an accurate and insightful vetting process is used to identify what technology is core and what is not.
The attorneys at Cook Alex have decades of experience in helping companies and inventors to identify the aspects of their core technology that are worth patenting. Conversely, they also help companies decide which aspects of their technology are not likely to become commercially viable and when patent protection should not be pursued. Once the technology is identified as worthy of patenting, Cook Alex attorneys craft patent applications that get results, both from the Patent Office and from the key players in your industry that care about those patents.