Tuesday, May 10, 2005

STEP-BY-STEP GUIDE TO GETTING A PATENT, ACCORDING TO WSJ: The Wall Street Journal recently published a short guide for individual inventors that may be contemplating getting a patent. While the article is a bit thin on the details, it provides a decent overview of patenting, and the expectations that go along with the examination process. One of the more interesting statistics contained in the article is a "Reality Check" section that addresses the commercialization of patented products. Two questions posed to inventors revealed some interesting responses:

(1) How many of your inventions generated sales?

None --------------- 42%
1-5 Inventions ------ 36%
> 5 Inventions ------ 3%
Didn't Answer ------- 19%

(2) How many of your inventions generated profits?

None ---------------- 55%
1-5 Inventions ------ 20%
> 5 Invention ------- 2%
Didn't Answer ------- 23%

It would be interesting to see how involved patent counsel were in the commercialization process. While commercialization has traditionally been viewed as a "business decision", I have found that being involved in business strategy for a patented product can greatly improve the chances of obtaining monetary benefit for a client. Patents are often promoted to companies as legal instruments (which they obviously are), but are often neglected as business tools. Patent attorneys are becoming more and more business-savvy every day - cut out your patent counsel from the commercialization process, and you may be cutting out significant chunks of revenue you could be receiving from your products or processes.

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