The patent portfolio may be over three quarters of your company’s overall value. For this reason it pays to put same level of attention toward your patent portfolio as you would with any investment portfolio. The standard rules of investing apply equally to patent portfolio management – asset allocation, scale, diversification, buy, hold or sell. If your patent portfolio is to be successful and effective, it needs to be expertly managed to return profits and affect market trends. Outsourcing this function will allow you to keep your people dedicated to your business goals instead of patent formalities.
We approach patent portfolio management in the same manner that an expert money manager would administer an investment portfolio. We have a keen eye for opportunities to create and maintain the volume, scale, diversity, and balance of your portfolio.
The true benefit of your patents is in the collective value of your portfolio as a whole and not in the individual patents themselves. Your patent portfolio has the potential to spread your risks among many patents and decrease dependency on any individual patent. This decreases reliance on individual claim scope and validity.
Holding multiple key patents in one technology gives you a controlling interest in that market. Furthermore, you can also influence markets that rely on that technology. A well-managed patent portfolio can be a powerful tool to enable market power and innovative technological development; all while minimizing risk.
What is the optimal size of a company’s patent portfolio? Does your business require multiple narrow patents? Should it include a few broad ones? In how many jurisdictions? The answers to these questions will be different for each company. Our approach to patent portfolio management incorporates an organized strategy that considers risk allocation and reduction and close scrutiny as to which innovations to file patents on. These decisions are driven by your business strategy and IP strategy.
A well-scaled patent portfolio will create category leadership and drive profitability for your organization. Your scale is your effective total filing in a given subject matter. This includes issued patents and applications in all jurisdictions. The scale of your patent portfolio enables market and category leadership. Category leadership has a significant impact on profitability. The ability to exclude your competitors with multiple related patents provides broad protection of the subject matter. This is an added benefit that extends beyond straight profitability.
We have helped many clients create a strong and properly scaled patent portfolio which served as a defensive weapon against litigation. When your company has a wide portfolio of patents to choose from as an arsenal for counterclaims, you not a good or easy target. A properly scaled patent portfolio can also be used as an offensive weapon. It becomes a barrier to entry discouraging your competitors from entering the field.
When you command category leadership from a scaled portfolio you can shape industry choices and standardization decisions. Your portfolio’s scale represents broad protection of a subject matter which in turn will increase you bargaining power in licensing and monetization of the patent portfolio.
We look for ways to help you diversify. It is a form of risk hedging. This involves obtaining patents in different areas. Similar to market based assets, the value of your patents, sub-portfolios or categories will fluctuate in value due to shifts in consumer demand and competitive innovations. Since each category is likely to react differently to a market shift, your portfolio as a whole is more risk-averse than one whose value increases or decreases based on a single event.
Diversity is important but it must not replace scale. Scale creates category leadership while diversity reduces risk. Over-diversification can reduce the benefits of scale so it is important to make these decisions carefully. We work closely with your executive and senior management to provide input to shape your diversification strategy.
A properly balanced portfolio is the result of ongoing determination of which patents to discard, which patents to maintain or renew, and which to pursue.
We help you to systematically review and rebalance your patent portfolio. It should be adjusted in accordance with your company’s current needs and the life span of a given technology or patent. You may decide not renew some patents and pursue others.
The decisions will be driven by an analysis of your competitive position across industries, segments or categories to identify areas of strength and market leadership versus areas where you are weaker. We’ll help you to identify where you have true industry leadership potential and functional scale.
We identify the patents, technologies and categories, and the combinations of these that will provide the most scale in terms of additional value and ROI.
We identify sub-portfolios, sub-segments or sub-categories that have sound fundamentals with best claims scope and potential competitive use.
We find areas within the portfolio where your company can achieve category leadership.
We assist in the definition of initiatives to develop and support growth to the sub-portfolios then rationalize those with limited value.
Assess how to best scale and diversify in order to optimize your portfolio.
Reduce clutter. If a patent is determined to be a waste of resources to renew, especially if it is approaching the end of the product lifecycle, it should be abandoned. This is particularly true if the benefits of new patents exceed the benefits of your older patents. If a patent is protecting a product in the early or middle stage of its lifecycle, maintaining it and paying renewal fees is in the best interest of the portfolio.
Changing technologies in the early stage of a product lifecycle may require new and similar patents for adequate protection. You will also need to update continuing applications and continuation-in-part applications with new matters and disclosures commensurate with market changes.
Good timing is essential for effective patent portfolio management and balancing. Entering a field late will significantly devalue the patent due to prior art and the consequent narrowing of claims while early entry may result in a mother lode for your company.
We’ll help you decide if it’s time to get out. You don’t want to waste resources on patents in crowded fields with limited value when you could capture new innovations.
You should have a patent portfolio and strategy that aligns with your business strategy. Levin Consulting Group has the experience and tools to create a portfolio-based patent strategy that is properly scaled and diverse to help you bring your company into a category leadership position.
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