The cost-value curve for a patent portolio is very similar to the cost-value curve for a single patent. If you invest the right amount of money in a portfolio, you should maximize its value and get a return on investment that is many times greater than if you underinvested.
Most patent attorneys recognize that there is a certain minimum amount of time that an attorney has to spend on a patent application to even get something that is in a form sufficient to file with the US Patent and Trademark Office...
So if we take any given year, and we file 100 patents in that year, and at the time we file those 100 patents we’re kind of thinking, “Well, some are more valuable, some are less valuable, but they all have some value..."
Over time, many of these inventions that were perceived to be valuable to the company at the time they were filed can become less valuable or even become worthless.
When inventions are picked for filing in patents, there are certain set of criteria that typically are met. For example, the patent or the invention typically would involve a technology that’s important to the company at the time that it’s filed.
If you’re filing patents on minuscule improvements, they’re all going to be typically of fairly low value; and unless you can file very large numbers of those, you’re not going to achieve very much.
You may have a handful of patents in any given technology area that are very difficult to design around. And that handful could be anywhere from a few or maybe even 20 or 30 or 40, but typically you’re never going to see any given technology area more than about 20 to 30 patents that you really have to wrangle with.
There’s several factors that go into that. One is is the tendency among most patent attorneys and even applicants is after they’ve spent $10-15,000.00 on a patent application, they just want to finish it for the sake of getting it issued so they can hold it in their hand and say here’s your patent. But it’s probably likely, in most cases, a patent has prior art that wasn’t anticipated or the technology is no longer relevant to the company.
"What’s going to be possible in five years that were not even thinking about right now because it’s completely infeasible?"
The way you implement a value-driven patent portfolio process us to regularly review the value of these patents or patent applications process.
The goal of a value-driven patent portfolio is to be continuously and vigilantly eliminating from your portfolio the patents or applications in process that you now recognize are no longer going to have any potential for value to the company, and redirecting the resources towards the patents and applications that do have potential value.