Of course, if offensive patenting was easy, smart entrepreneurs and CEO’s such as yourself would already be executing on it in droves. In truth, however, offensive patenting can only be effective against big players through use of expert competitive patent and business intelligence. Such techniques have unfortunately not been readily accessible outside of the large corporate and investor environments.
This is changing, however, as more intellectual property professionals with corporate business experience, such as myself, are entering the consultancy business. I have been able to work with clients using patent filing data analysis to identify where a large company was likely going to be focusing its technology or product efforts in 3-5 years. Together, the clients and I will brainstorm a “next generation” improvement to that technology or product. We then will work with the client’s patent attorney to draft, file and prosecute patent applications that are directed toward reducing or preventing the large company’s future ability to freely compete in that business or technology space. The objective is to end up with the client owning patent(s) that would be infringed by the large company’s future business plans. Rather than change its business plans, the large company will pay a patent “toll” in the form of a license or acquisition of the client.
Admittedly, offensive patenting is a bit like looking into a business crystal ball. However, the information needed to successfully execute on this patent strategy is out there and, when collected and analyzed by the right person, it is actually hiding in plain sight. As discussed in this blog post, experts believe that those who collect and act on available data are more likely to be successful in today’s data-driven economy. I believe that smart entrepreneurs and CEO’s of startup companies can achieve the investment or acquisition they want for their companies by collecting and analyzing patent filing data to make it necessary for big companies to pay for permission to play in their desired business spaces.
So stop thinking about patents as a fence, but instead as a toll booth. One can usually walk around a fence, but if the toll booth blocks the only road to a big company’s business destination, the toll is likely to be paid.