If the Apple v. Samsung patent war has taught us anything, it’s that patents can be extraordinarily valuable business assets. When Apple was awarded a billion dollar settlement against Samsung, inside counsel everywhere were reminded that patents can serve as both a defensive and an offensive weapon in protecting a company’s intellectual property.
IP is a business asset that strategically positions corporations; given this, it should be though of as a valuable asset, not as merely a way to mitigate risk. Lawyers, from the time they attend law school, are trained to protect companies against risk, and this means teaching them to think in terms of liability rather than in terms of maximizing business value. That is a shame because in today’s innovation-centered economy, it’s vital to be thinking not only about how to maximize the number of patents a company has, but also the lifetime value those patents bring to the organization.