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When To Sell: 3 Patent Monetization Strategies For The Savvy Investor

When To Sell: 3 Patent Monetization Strategies For The Savvy Investor

 

ROIAs a savvy investor, you understand that simply owning intellectual property is not going to make you a dime. When it comes to patent monetization and profiting from your intellectual property, you have three choices:

• Litigate to protect your IP
• License the usage rights
• Sell the patents

Selling patents ensures a quick payoff for your technology. But, how do you know when the time is ripe to generate substantial profits from selling patents in your IP portfolio?

1. Sell If … The Technology Is Not Core To Your Business

Conduct a portfolio assessment and determine if you have any number of patents that are redundant or not essential to your overall business goals. If you are holding intellectual property that is not core to your business, but may be valuable to others, it is wise to sell those non-essential assets.

Some firms may be willing to pay top dollar for the technology. This way, you shed the costly endeavor associated with starting up a business based on a new product.

2. Sell If … The Technology’s Life Cycle Is Waning

Patents have a life span. As a technology’s life cycle is nearing the end of its relevancy, the value of a patent starts dwindling in the last five or so years of its life. Selling before a patent gets to this point is often wise.

As with any investment, you need to know the marketplace extraordinarily well. With in-depth knowledge of the market and some foresight into the future landscape of technology, you are able to conduct a patent assessment and successfully determine a patent’s remaining relevancy.

Patent selling is effective once you know that a piece of technology in your IP portfolio is fading in relevancy. However, depending on where your intellectual property is at in its life cycle, patent monetization may be better achieved by marketing the technology to other investors who are willing to bring the new product to consumers.

3. Sell If … You Do Not Want To Endure Costly Patent Litigation

After conducting a patent assessment, you may come to understand you have patent infringers on certain key technologies in your IP portfolio. In this scenario, you either have to enter patent litigation or pursue patent selling.

If you feel you don’t have the tolerance for risk or funds associated with prolonged patent litigation, patent selling is a very viable option. Non-practicing entities (NPEs) and other companies welcome the opportunity to acquire intellectual property for little else than to sue. Patent trolls are a contentious topic, but they are an option for patent monetization.

Although you may be tempted to sell patents quickly, effective patent selling begins and ends with a strong IP strategy. Any successful patent monetization effort requires a lot of analysis and research to find the right buyer so you reap the most reward.

Ready to learn more about selling patents with the right strategy to achieve the most from your patent monetization efforts? Contact the patent monetization experts at TechPats today.


Patent Mining: 3.5 Pitfalls To Avoid When Uncovering Hidden Gems

Patent Mining: 3.5 Pitfalls To Avoid When Uncovering Hidden Gems

 

When it comes to successful IP portfolio management, “patent mining” is one of those terms that suggests the promise of striking it rich from unearthed intellectual property.

However, the truth is that patent mining is no quick fix. The trick to patent mining is avoiding the pitfalls – a process requiring a lot of strategy and investment of resources to truly reap the potential (and possibly considerable) financial benefits.

Here’s how:

1. Don’t Let Your Patent Portfolio Grow Out Of Control

Knowing what you have in your patent portfolio is significant to uncovering the gems. Statistically, the majority of patents in your portfolio are not providing economic value, and are actually costing you money in maintenance and attorney fees.

Patent pruning allows you to identify and eliminate any unproductive intellectual property you own, and strategically align your patent portfolio to meet your core business objectives. Keep in mind: The process of patent pruning must be done very carefully.

To start, consider how each patent supports, defends or advances your market position. Assets not in practice, outdated technologies or any assets with existing litigation are all ready to be evaluated for possible pruning from your patent portfolio.

2. Avoid Using Automated Systems For Patent Mining

Often, automated systems are used for patent mining … a process that all too many outsourced patent reviewers implement. Automated systems are a pitfall of patent mining for the following three reasons:

• Glossing over potentially viable patents
• Not always locating core assets
• Inaccurately evaluating technology across multiple industries

For effective mining, you need a patent mining service that reviews your patent portfolio personally. It should also manually review thousands of patents and conduct extensive IP valuation to select the best assets that serve your company’s core objectives.

3. Beware Of Traveling Down The Patent Mining Rabbit Hole

Without the right strategy and background experience in patent mining, you could end up wasting hours upon hours of company resources sifting through patents, trying to find value.

Your team of engineers may not have the experience evaluating assets from a patent monetization perspective. They may not understand the current markets and how certain technologies in your patent portfolio may be applicable.

To avoid falling down the patent mining rabbit hole, you need to know exactly where technology is headed across a wide range of industries, and how any given patent in your portfolio applies to technology 10 years into the future.

3.5. Never Assume Your Patent Portfolio Is Full Of Gems

In a portfolio of 100 patents, a low percentage of those patents are often true gems. Simply put: Knowing when to stop investing time and resources into forcing value out of bad assets is important to successful patent mining.

As a strategic business practice, patent mining necessitates a serious commitment to active scanning and analysis of all patents that directly affect your company’s goals.

To tie technology development to your business strategy, partner with a strong patent firm that has decades of experience, meaning they are devoted to iteratively mining your portfolio.

The resources spent on efficiently and effectively conducting patent mining save you from wasting time and money on unproductive patents in your portfolio.

Ready to learn more about patent mining and making the most of your IP portfolio management? Contact the patent mining service experts at TechPats today.


Portfolio Analysis: 5 Investor Tips To Enrich Your IP Portfolio

How do you know when it is time to conduct a portfolio analysis for intellectual property protection?

 

Intellectual Property Consulting and ProtectionThe biggest factor indicating a need for analysis, when looking at your intellectual property portfolio, is if you recognize a giant gap between your expectations and reality. If you are consistently staring at your patent monetization expectations from across the void, it is definitely time to reevaluate your patent portfolio.

An IP portfolio analysis allows you to understand why your intellectual property is under performing. When you know what is going on and, more importantly, why it is happening, it is a great starting point for aligning your patent portfolio with your business goals.

The following five investor success tips are helpful for refining your intellectual property so your patent monetization efforts are fruitful.

1. Invest In Smart Patenting Processes

One way to ensure your patent portfolio is primed for patent monetization is to intimately understand and predict where innovations in your industry may be headed in the next five to 10 years. That is no small order, which is why it is smart to invest in a strategic patenting program.

Partnering with an ip consulting firm that is well versed in IP portfolio management protection assists you in strategically patenting technologies that hopefully develop and grow in value over time, so you are never wasting resources again.

2. File For Patents Quickly And Efficiently

The America Invents Act enacted in 2013 changed the U.S. patent system to a first-inventor-to-file system. What this means is that disclosing your invention to the patent office before a competitor is paramount for protecting a strong patent portfolio. Getting to the patent office first protects your investment in your portfolio.

As an investment strategy, in order to file for patents before your competitors, you need to stay on top of technologies and have insight into where your industry is likely going next. It is highly recommended that you partner with a proven intellectual property consulting firm that acts as your eyes and ears in the field at all times to ensure intellectual property protection.

3. For A Patent Acquisition, Consider Its Value Over Time

When it comes to enriching your patent portfolio, keep in mind that patents have a shelf life. It would be shortsighted to ask for future royalties for a license to use an expired asset.

To get the most from your investment, you almost always want to purchase intellectual property with an optimal shelf life. An industry-relevant patent with 15 years before its expiration date is normally more valuable than a similar patent with only three years left on it. However, keep in mind that the older patents have earlier filing dates and could likely be better suited to survive validity challenges.

4. Put In The Appropriate Amount Of Due Diligence

To be effective and meet your investment goals, IP portfolio management is a labor-intensive project. You need to know the market, the technology and the patent’s potential. You also need to have a good intellectual property protection firm on your side.

You must know when there is a possibility of patent infringement and when that can eventually lead to patent licensing or an infringement suit. Also, since not all of your patents are going to be cash cows, you may need to consider if pruning your portfolio makes the most sense long-term.

Partnering with an intellectual property consulting firm helps you identify potential infringers to pursue licensing and/or lawsuit strategies, or possibly even parties who could be interested in monetizing your under performing patents.

5. Do Something With It!

It is not likely that a competitor is going to approach you, hand you cash, and ask politely for a license to your patent. Owning a patent gives you the right to exclude others from making or using the claimed invention. Without at least considering exerting your rights, your patent is not worth much to anyone.

You get out of your patent portfolio what you put into it. When your patent application is granted or you acquire a new patent, it is important to have a strategy in place. Your plan may involve anything from making a product to enforcing your intellectual property through patent litigation.

Patents are not meant to be collectibles you put on a shelf to admire. Many people want to license their patents then sit back and collect royalties, but a licensing strategy is only feasible if you are willing to invest the necessary time and effort. The important thing is to keep your patent portfolio active.

If you are looking to better align your patent portfolio with your business investment goals, it’s time to conduct a portfolio analysis with the help of an intellectual property consulting firm. As you begin to understand your portfolio’s strengths and weaknesses, you are then able to set a strategic plan to get your intellectual property working in your favor.

Ready to learn more about portfolio analysis and how to apply investor tips to turn around your under performing intellectual property? Contact the patent portfolio experts at TechPats today.


3 Intellectual Property Lawsuits Every Business Owner Should Understand

3 Intellectual Property Lawsuits Every Business Owner Should Understand

 

Intellectual property lawsuits are a reality of maintaining a productive IP portfolio. As one facet of your patent monetization efforts, you should be prepared to actively protect your patents – via legal proceedings, if necessary – to ensure other companies don’t use your patented invention to earn revenue.

Patent litigation requires an understanding of some of the landmark standards that have been seen in major, recent intellectual property lawsuits. The following three lawsuits have changed the game for patent infringement, licensing and injunctions.

1. Microsoft v. i4i: Supreme Court Rules Against Microsoft

If you are a smaller company experiencing patent infringement from enterprise organizations, you do not have to accept being pushed around the playing field.

Back in 2011, there was a high-profile intellectual property lawsuit in which the Supreme Court unanimously upheld a lower court ruling that software behemoth Microsoft infringed the patents of a small Canadian company, i4i. The ruling hinged on the strength of the presumption of “validity” for claims of a patent allowed by the USPTO.

Although Microsoft attempted to paint i4i as a “patent troll,” the small company withstood the legal fees and came out on top. An alleged infringer needs to show “clear and convincing” evidence in order to invalidate the claim in question at trial. Microsoft was forced to pay out $290 million for patent infringement.

If Microsoft had won the intellectual property lawsuit, however, it would have established a new precedent making it easier to invalidate a patent.

2. Ebay v. MercExchange: No Guarantee Of Injunction

Once you’ve proven before the court that someone has infringed upon your intellectual property, that doesn’t necessarily mean you are granted an injunction so they permanently cease infringing.

Back in 2000, eBay began negotiations to outright purchase MercExchange’s online auction IP portfolio – eBay had already been using practices from their patents at the time. Sometime in the middle of negotiations, eBay abandoned the purchasing effort and MercExchange sued eBay for patent infringement … and won.

After the verdict, MercExchange sought an injunction to prevent eBay’s continued use of its intellectual property. This time, the District Court denied their request. However, the Federal Circuit reversed the District Court, stating there was a “general rule that courts will issue permanent injunctions against patent infringement absent of exceptional circumstances.”

That being said, the Supreme Court ultimately overturned the Federal Circuit’s approval of the injunction, determining that an injunction should not be automatically issued based on a finding of patent infringement. Then, it also ruled that District Court originally erred in denying an injunction based on the fact that MercExchange does not practice their patented invention.

3. Microsoft v. Motorola: Jury Puts End to Patent Shenanigans

Not all intellectual property lawsuits are about patent infringement.

Back in 2011, Google bought Motorola Mobility for $12 billion. Many say the motivation of this purchase was Motorola’s IP portfolio – Google wanted to use it to fight back against certain Microsoft lawsuits. However, the Western District Court of Washington instructed Motorola to pay Microsoft $14.5 million for abusing those patent royalties by refusing to license standards-essential, “FRAND” patents at reasonable terms.

The verdict in this intellectual property lawsuit was a landmark decision and contributed to a growing list of regulators and courts sending the message that the best patent policies encourages use of patented, standards-essential subject matter paired with reasonable and non-discriminatory licensing practices.

Patent litigation simply comes with the territory of effectively managing your IP portfolio. However, there’s nothing simple about intellectual property lawsuits.

Whether you have in-house or outside counsel to guide your legal proceedings, it’s incredibly helpful to partner with a patent litigation support team that allows your legal team to focus on patent law by offering comprehensive support in the technical and legal aspects of a patent infringement lawsuit. Pre-trial planning, reverse engineering, invalidity analysis and excellent technical experts make all the difference in a verdict.

Ready to learn more about intellectual property lawsuits and find the right patent litigation support? Contact TechPats today.


Top 5 Proven IP Valuation Insights And Best Practices

Top 5 Proven IP Valuation Insights And Best Practices

IP valuation best practicesTo make the most of your key technologies and the opportunities in front of your organization, accurate and effective IP valuation is vital.

However, IP valuation is a complex process due to the interminable variation of underlying technologies, legal issues, business issues and the context in which they are conducted.

To ensure your intellectual property serves your business strategy, you must avoid churning out patents without a plan. The following five points are proven best practices when it comes to patent valuation.

1. Conduct Patent Portfolio Mining

Over the years, your IP portfolio may become overstuffed with valuable patents, and it is important to mine them for improved company revenue. Companies that neglect their IP portfolio are wasting money. Which patents are no longer relevant to your business strategy?

To discover which patents in your portfolio are relevant and which are not, have an IP valuation expert conduct patent portfolio mining. Having your patents mined helps you to see where and how your patents apply to industries and technologies. Patent portfolio mining clears up the clutter of your IP portfolio and may also help you find potential buyers for your unused patents.

2. Partner With Patent Portfolio Management Experts

Bringing on an IP consulting firm, one that fully comprehends the industry and the technology that they are valuating, is important for your organization. These experts are made up of engineers and analysts with years of industry experience.

With their high level of experience, an IP consulting firm helps you identify, evaluate, capture and protect valuable IP assets. Their invaluable knowledge of IP valuation is what helps you create a robust and effective IP strategy.

3. Perform Comprehensive Market Analyses

Another effective way to conduct IP valuation is to have your IP consulting firm perform comprehensive market analysis to determine where your technology stacks up amongst your competitors.

Market analysis is a methodology that involves determining what a buyer is willing to pay for similar intellectual property. This comes by ascertaining if there’s an active market for the patent, or a similar one, and also if there have been past transactions of comparable property.

4. Determine Your Patents’ Life Cycle

Most investors aren’t going to be interested in a patent that has limited years of relevance or patent protection left. On the other hand, with a recently issued patent, the technology has not properly matures and there is no potential to litigate at that time.

That is why it is important to understand where your technology exists in its life cycle. Generally speaking, it is better to acquire a patent after it has been proven useful in the marketplace.

5. Take Timing Into Consideration

Technology changes rapidly, which affects the value of your patents. The values of your patents are going to fluctuate, depending on how old they are and how relevant they are.

You may need to sit on your patent for several years, even a decade, and wait for technology to catch up. Conversely, waiting too long means you may have a hard time attracting demand. Your IP consulting firm helps you navigate the ever-changing tide of technology.

IP valuation requires in-depth knowledge of relevant technologies, market conditions and patent law. Along with this understanding is the ability to bring many facts and considerations together to build an argument for why a patent has value. Patent valuation is not only a function of revenue, but also a matter of timing and the other strategic benefits it may yield.

Ready to learn more about proven best practices for mining patent gold? Contact the IP valuation experts at TechPats today.


IP Management: 5.5 Critical Reasons You Need An IP Consulting Firm

IP Management: 5.5 Critical Reasons You Need An IP Consulting Firm

Intellectual property means much more than just innovative inventions and patents. To realize and enable different income streams, your IP portfolio must be properly managed to safeguard proprietary technologies and help maintain a competitive advantage in the marketplace, while also attracting interest and investments.

An IP consulting firm is an important ally when building or strengthening your patent monetization efforts.

Partnering with an IP consulting firm go hand-in-hand with a robust IP strategy that aims to identify, evaluate, capture, protect and attain valuable IP assets. Here’s why:

1. You Find Engineers And Analysts With Years Of Experience

A good IP consulting firm has engineers and analysts with years, if not decades, of industry experience. They know how to take a 30,000-foot view of your patents and their related technology, but are also able to get up close and identify key patents that form the basis for a solid patent monetization strategy.

2. You Secure The Absolute Best Blueprint For Patent Monetization

As a leader of your corporation, you do not necessarily have the dedicated resources it takes to develop a comprehensive roadmap for successful IP management.  When you partner with an IP consulting firm, they are focused fully on realizing the potential of your IP portfolio, leaving no stone unturned. With an underlying awareness for integrated, exhaustive patent mining, the right IP consulting firm gives you the absolute best blueprint for patent monetization.

3. You Easily Adapt To Industry Trends For Strategic IP Management

Industry, technology and applications are ever changing, and it is often difficult for company leaders to stay ahead of the curve where the future of their patents are concerned. To truly get the most from your IP portfolio, it requires strategic IP management that is best attained with an experienced IP consulting firm that’s able to predict future industry trends. This high level of strategic patenting is going to give your company an edge over competitors.

4. You Gain Reverse Engineering Services And Teardown Capabilities

When your company faces competitor threats to your intellectual property, you need patent litigation support. The right IP consulting firm has reverse engineering services with experts in technology teardown tactics. The evidence these experts uncover is commonly a deciding factor in court.

5. You Receive Patent Litigation Support For Legal Proceedings

Whether you are protecting your IP against infringers or defending your products against the infringement claims of competitors, an IP consulting firm provides highly experienced patent litigation support services to work with either in-house or outside counsel. The firm acts as a silent partner for legal counsel. With attorneys on staff, the firm understands the position that you may be stuck in and tailors the work product for use by those acting in a legal capacity.

5.5. You Get Efficiency And Value

Effective IP management requires a quick, proactive team to get through a portfolio, comply with a docket or find EoU. When you partner with an IP consulting firm, they provide all the IP services you need, as they have the team already built and ready to go to work. This level of efficiency and expertise equals value by saving your time and money both in the short- and long-term.

While providing your business with a proactive approach to IP management, an IP consulting firm also assists in mitigating significant risks resulting from poorly considered or reactive approaches to patent monetization.

Ready to partner with the right IP consulting firm and receive long-term, successful IP management for your corporation? Contact the patent experts at TechPats today.