Tonight I had dinner with a patent attorney friend of mine who I have known for more than 10 years. For the purposes of this post, let’s call her “Sue.” Sue and I met as young patent attorneys at an intellectual property law firm and grew up together to become partners there. Unlike myself, however, Sue has remained in the law firm environment. These days, she works at a highly prestigious national law firm and has a billable rate of close to $600 an hour. Of course, at this rate, Sue’s clients expect to obtain quality representation and, having been a client of hers when I was an in-house corporate attorney, I know that my friend is a great patent attorney and gives excellent service.
As an IP Business Strategist and Consultant, I am no longer engaged on a daily basis in working with clients to obtain patents. In this IP Strategist role, I have developed the view that too many patents are worthless because they are not filed based upon a relevant business case. Put another way, it is my opinion that a patent is worthless unless it supports a current business strategy of the company that is seeking the patent. This strong opinion is easy to state, and I have been seeking to have it validated by someone who makes their money from obtaining patents for business clients.