Some new clients over the years have asked me, a bit sheepishly, “What good are our patents?” A confession of sorts follows. “I know that patents are important to acquire. But aside from going after a clear infringer, all we seem to do is fill a file folder with our patents without further thought except when it's time to pay a maintenance fee.” The confession complete, I answer the question with a question — how does your company generate revenue? A discussion ensues about the ways patents can protect or augment those drivers of revenue.
Of course, the key takeaway from these discussions is that patents should be obtained with business objectives in mind. Five of the most common objectives include: