What is a patent strategy?

A patent strategy is a plan of action designed to guide your application process, support business objectives, and, ultimately, secure the rights of your innovation.

Well-rounded patent strategies will answer a set of basic questions, such as: 

  • What business idea are you planning to patent? 
  • How will you draft your patent application, and what will you include? 
  • When should you file your patent application? 
  • Where in the world will you file your patent? 
  • How long do you intend to maintain your granted patent and applications? 

Once you answer the questions above, you’ll have the foundation for your patent strategy. Keep in mind that your IP strategy should always support your overall business objectives.   

Why would a business have a patent strategy?

Businesses invest time and money into developing a patent strategy because creating a comprehensive blueprint delivers outstanding results. 

Without a strong patent strategy, organisations may struggle to protect their innovations adequately, resulting in missed financial opportunities and other disadvantages. Patent strategy for startups is even more vital as it enhances the company’s value in a dynamic market and reinforces the innovative quality of its products or services.  

What does a typical strategy involve?

So, what do patent strategies include? No two businesses or patents are the same, and each application will vary according to the market and type of product or service. Overall, a typical patent or IP strategy should include: 

  • An analysis of your portfolio and which innovations you plan to patent. 
  • Market research of the current patent landscape and how your idea competes. 
  • Enforceable actions against potential infringement.  
  • Opportunities to licence or monetize your patent once granted. 
  • Ways in which you can align your patent with business objectives. 
  • Guidelines to update and maintain your patent over the years

What benefits does a strategy bring?

Developing a patent strategy brings countless benefits to organisations, especially those that find themselves in a competitive sector. A comprehensive and well-executed patent strategy will help: 

Streamline procedures 

The process of securing a patent can be costly and usually takes at least three to four years, but it may take even longer.  By having a clear plan in place, companies can streamline the patent application procedure and ensure a smoother transition towards the protection of their intellectual property

Maintain a competitive edge 

Granted patents help organisations maintain a competitive edge in crowded and cut-throat markets. By developing a diverse patent portfolio and prioritising intellectual protection, you can make competitors think twice about entering your industry. 

Promote innovation 

Patenting intellectual property helps provide an incentive for further innovation. Once your idea is recognised as unique and novel, investors may be more inclined to pour money into this specific area of research and development.  

Create new streams of revenue 

When employed correctly, patent protection can spur upon lucrative streams of investment. If other companies can’t make use of your innovation, you could license the patent and turn your intellectual property into a valuable asset. 

Avoid patent infringement 

Last but not least, organisations can benefit from being aware of third-party patent rights and the scope of the rights of other patentees. This ensures they can make use of their innovation without interference from competitors, and they can seek legal action to defend their own patent rights if they believe they have been infringed upon. 

How to start building your patent strategy?

Whether you’re planning a patent strategy for startups or more established companies, you’ll likely follow a similar approach. We recommend: 

  1. Evaluating your innovation: is your idea novel, inventive, and industrially applicable? Determine whether your innovation meets the relevant criteria and if it’s worth filing a patent application. 
  2. Outline your goals: what do you hope to achieve with this patent? Ensure your patent strategy aligns with the wider goals of your business. 
  3. Know your market: who are your competitors and what’s already been patented? Spend plenty of time researching what’s already out there and make sure you stand out. 
  4. Define your scope: what countries will you want to patent in? Identify which markets are both relevant and profitable for your innovation. 
  5. Set your budget: how much are you willing to spend on your patent? Set a firm budget as developing a patent strategy can incur quite a few costs.   
  6. Update your patent strategy: how will your innovation evolve in the future? Keep track of your patent maintenance and revise your strategy regularly to ensure its relevance. 

If you have any questions or would like further information regarding patent strategies, or would like to learn more about how we can help you, please do not hesitate to contact us, either by email at mail@bailey-walsh.com or by telephone on +44 (0)113 243 3824.