Sometimes people envisage a 1:1 correspondence between inventive concept and patent. However, a patent portfolio often includes far more. Families of patents can be organized to effect a corporate strategy designed to perform the important function: preventing competition from using corporate developed ideas. While a single patent can have great strength in and of itself, a group of cooperating patents are generally more effective at setting up maximum protection.
Just as the science and development in your company does not stop, a good patent portfolio also improves continuously in time. As advances are made, those advances often support extended patent coverage in a 'continuation-in-part' type patent application(s). If done carefully, a continuing patent effort moves with a product line and captures all essential new development as added intellectual property.
"Far too often, a company finds itself with 5 years of new development and a old patent containing an outdated version. Even the company itself no longer uses the patented approach. The competition gets a free ride because patent protection was not extended into the improvements that naturally come with 5 years of hard work"
- Eddie Jackson
In some cases, it remains possible to protect a foundational technology with a single well prepared patent application. Where possible, Integrity IP can establish such patent protection with a single patent that will be durable for the entire 20 year patent term. While not right for all projects, a single key patent can operate to provide that all important competitive advantage in some fields.
In all instances, a good meeting to set forth the corporate objectives comes before starting portfolio planning. It is essential to clearly set forth these objectives early so that an appropriate type of IP portfolio can be pursued. With good planning in this regard, a far better result can be achieved with respect to value. With loose planning and less defined strategy, one tends to spend far more money and reach an inferior overall protection.
We invite you to consider making an IP strategy meeting a priority and taking up this topic from the early days. In this way, Integrity IP will assure you arrive where you want for the price that is right for your needs.