Dig Deep Into Your Competitors’ Patent Correspondence 🕵️‍♀️

We’ve recently had another client, Robert from Soteria120, successfully complete the “Search” phase of the Product Protection Playbook and gain significant value from it.

Robert particularly appreciated gaining a deeper understanding of exactly how to dig into the swath of existing patent literature and figure out how it might impact his business. On a recent coaching call, we dug deep into one patent application in particular to see who filed it, the current status, how likely that patent was to issue (or if it had already been rejected), and even the specific correspondence that that company had with the patent office.

It turned out that many of the claims of the third party patent had already been rejected, and we were able to see exactly what the patent office’s reasoning was. We intend to use that as a model for improving Robert’s own patent application, so that it will be well positioned to avoid such issues.

Robert has this to say about it:

“This is super useful! To see your strategy with finding something on Google Patents then what we do to dig into it more deeply and troll through those references, that was awesome. Thank you for helping us with that!”

If you’re concerned with how existing patents might impact your business and your ability to get a patent (or potentially even more dangerous, if your not), let’s hop on a call and nail down your next steps for gaining this peace of mind!

Can you defend your patent in court? Would you even want to? 🤺

Super Soaker

Many entrepreneurs I talk with shy away from filing a patent because they have heard that “in their industry” or “for their technology” or simply “because they are a small startup” it would be difficult to defend their patent in court.

Although this may be true, does it immediately imply you shouldn’t file a patent? Should getting into a bunch of lawsuits really be at the core of your IP strategy, or is that just what your lawyer would like to see happen? Could there be a better, more business-focused strategy for extracting value from your patent?


For many businesses in many industries (especially technology and software startups), yes, there are many other strategies for extracting value from a patent or even a patent application.

In fact, for smaller companies, attempting to prevent their competition from manufacturing or selling their product by defending their patent in court would not be a great approach. Even if you could win such a court case, the legal fees required to get you there may cause you significant financial woes (to put it mildly).

Plus, as the founder of your business, should you really be spending your time in court arguing over patent infringement or should you be continuing to innovate, looking for investment, finding customers, and selling your solution? Your time is limited and it’s important to choose every action you take carefully, because taking one means you won’t have time to take countless other actions.

Consider your reasons for wanting a patent very carefully. If the primary (or only) reason you’ve considered for filing a patent is to defend your patent in court, then it may not make sense to file until you have a much larger legal budget. Although, even on this point, if you file an application now and all goes well, your patent may not be accepted or defendable for 2-4 years, by which time you may have an increased ability to defend it.

If you are filing a patent for other reasons such as improved credibility, increased investor confidence, licensing or partnerships, improved net worth, or others, then patents may start to make much more sense earlier in the life-cycle of a startup or innovative business.

We do a deep-dive into the business strategy and benefits of filing a patent in Modules 4-6 of The Product Protection Playbook. I’m happy to give you a preview of what this looks like and determine which strategies make the most sense for your business specifically.

Let’s chat: https://theiplink.com/book/

Unsure of Which Patent Lawyer to Work With? 😵‍💫

Have you started searching for a patent lawyer yet? Email me to let me know!

It can be pretty tough to tell which of the many lawyers that advertise their services will produce a high-quality patent draft. Given the importance of your initial patent application, typically high rates, and the total amount you may eventually spend with a patent lawyer, this is one decision you want to be absolutely sure of.

But here’s the problem, even after starting to work with a patent lawyer, you won’t really know how good your lawyer is until your patent draft is reviewed by the patent office and you start receiving rejection or approval notices. This might not happen for 3-4 years and $50,000-$150,000 into the process.

There have been many situations where I’ve been working with a patent lawyer when months or years after the initial filing, things start to go wrong. In certain cases they started sending bills for work I didn’t ask them to do and I have to waste time arguing over the amounts, even referencing past emails where I had specifically asked them to confirm any work with me first. One lawyer I worked with on a few patent applications (he seemed great initially) ended up ghosting and I couldn’t get in touch with him as an important deadline approached!

I’ve found that many of these issues stem from not doing the right preparation before engaging with a patent lawyer. Much of it relates to what you ask them to do, and even more importantly, how you ask it. Of course, you could also just end up choosing the wrong person to work with (surprise surprise, not all patent lawyers are great at what they do).

This is why we developed the “Submit” phase of our Product Protection Playbook which encompasses a unique and specific process for preparing, finding, and engaging with the right patent lawyer in the right way. It even includes templates, how-to and training videos, and a list of the best patent lawyers we’ve worked with (far, far shorter than the full spreadsheet of all the lawyers we’ve worked with, as we’ve vetted out most of these).

Book a call now to learn more about the program and to find out how to join!

Design Patent 👑 VS Utility Patent 🛰

Coca Cola Bottle Design Patent

Should you be filing an industrial design (design patent) or a utility patent? The ultimate question: Design Patent VS Utility Patent. Okay, this is not the ultimate question, but a common question nonetheless.


The first thing I want to clarify is terminology. In most of the world, you can file a patent or an “industrial design” application. In the United States, industrial designs are called “design patents.” This can be a bit confusing because they are quite different from “utility patents,” or what the rest of the world just calls “patents.” For the rest of this article, I will call them industrial designs, to attempt to reduce confusion.

Design VS Utility

The best way to think about whether you should file an industrial design or a utility patent is by asking yourself what is new, unique, and innovative about your product: how it works or how it looks?

If your product has a unique appearance, you may want to consider filing an industrial design. If you think it has a unique function, then you may want to consider patent protection, and we would love to help!

Strength of Protection

If you are able to get industrial design protection, this only enables you to prevent others from copying your exact design. Assuming you don’t also have a patent, others would be free to copy the function of your product as long as theirs had a different shape or appearance. Industrial designs can be easier to get, but they also have more limited protection. It is easier to tweak a design, or the appearance of a product to get around industrial design protection than it is for a well-written patent.

Multiple Forms of Protection

The initial question I asked at the beginning of this article related to “industrial design OR utility patent,” but the best IP strategy usually incorporates multiple forms of IP protection. For example, you may protect your software, written works, and images with copyright. You will likely protect your brand (the name of your company, logos, product names, etc.) with a trademark. You may keep certain elements of your back-end as a trade secret (data that goes into an AI or machine learning process, for example). If your product incorporates a unique process or function, you will certainly want to consider filing a patent application on your core technology regardless of whether or not it also has a unique design. Learn the best approach to filing a patent here!

And of course, even if you are pursuing a patent you should also consider filing an industrial design if the appearance of your product is unique and important to the success of your business.

Avoid Patent Rejection 🙅

Avoid Patent Rejection

What are the patentability criteria and why are they so important?

In this video, I discuss the three primary criteria that the patent office will review when deciding whether to approve or reject your patent application: usefulness (whether or not your product is useful), novelty (whether or not your product is completely new), and obviousness (how innovative your product is).

Watch now to learn how these criteria impact your chances of getting a patent!

Three Steps to Avoid Patent Mistakes

For the last couple of weeks, I’ve been working on a new presentation that really highlights the differences between the typical approach of going straight to a lawyer to get a patent application and the new and improved approach that The IP Link has developed.

Watch this video if you would like to avoid all of the common mistakes and roadblocks that tend to arise with the old approach to getting a patent.

In this video, you will also learn how to get a better patent and make the most out of your investment into patent protection:

In this video, I talk about:

  • How to get started with patent protection,
  • The three steps to getting a better patent that will bring value to your business,
  • How much patent protection costs,
  • How to avoid common pitfalls,
  • How you should prepare for filing a patent application BEFORE contacting a lawyer,
  • The typical timeline of the patent process (including costs) AND a timeline of our improved approach,
  • How the typical approach of going to a patent lawyer first can cause issues (and how to avoid these issues),
  • And MUCH more!

So don’t miss it!

“Wish we would have done this in my previous career.”

One of our clients, Tony, recently graduated from our Product Protection Playbook and was kind enough to share a few of his thoughts on how it went.

He started out giving a bit of context on where his company was before they started working with The IP Link: “We were kind of going around in circles, it was backwards and forwards a lot with the lawyer, and we didn’t seem to make any headway in regards to ‘what do we actually have?’ and is this the right way to proceed.”

Tony and his team had actually already started working with a lawyer before finding The IP Link, but it wasn’t going well. Of our program, he says “it just gave me better insight into what steps come first before you start going down the road of legal patent lawyers.”

While working through the first phase of The Product Protection Playbook, we uncovered an existing patent from a competitor that wasn’t previously on their radar.

“[The program] gave me a better understanding of how to search better when it comes to patents. We’ve all been doing searches, all plugging away at it, and we even had a patent lawyer looking at it and they didn’t even find that one particular patent that came way too close to make us feel comfortable. So to me, the plan works.”

This competitive intelligence helped them decide to pivot the development of their product away from a sensor to data analytics!  Working through the program, he says, “helped us decide we weren’t a sensor company, that we were more of a data analytic type company. After going through this process it made us think our business strategy should be more around the data collection and how we would sell that data. That changed our strategy a bit around what we were as a company.”

Looking back on it, he says that if they hadn’t worked with The IP Link, “my biggest fear would have been we would have probably wasted a lot of money backwards and forwards to the lawyers because the lawyers are going to charge you no matter what. So if we were unclear and we kept making revisions to what we were doing, we were just throwing money down the drain. Doing it this way saved us that headache…”

“My experience with the patent lawyers in the past was that they’re quite willing to keep taking your money. And there’s a lot of that backwards and forwards, and a lot of time goes by, because you wait a week or two to return your emails to give you good news or bad news.”

For anyone considering patent protection, he gives this advice: “If someone was to come along and they’ve got an idea and they want to save themselves a headache or spending too much money, this program would probably benefit them quite a bit. It would give them a better understanding of the patent process.”

To hear a bit more of our conversation, check out the video here:

The Patent Mastermind Free Private Community 🌱

Over the past six months or so, I’ve participated in a few online communities for entrepreneurs that have really helped me learn and improve my business. These have been related to business generally, and so far I haven’t been able to find a community of entrepreneurs focused on patent strategy.


I’ve recently created a brand new community for innovative business owners and technology entrepreneurs developing new products, software, or processes.

This is a platform where I and our community members will share the best strategies that we use to get better patents and make the most out of our investment into intellectual property protection.

If you’re just getting started with patents and want to learn, this is the perfect place to do it! If you have experience with patents, please join the community and give some of your knowledge back to those who need it!

You’ll get regular live training sessions, exclusive resources, and access to other business owners and entrepreneurs like yourself to mastermind with, learn from, help out, and protect your businesses together!

Since this is a new group, the first few people to join will have a greater impact in shaping the community so that it can become exactly what you need and want. Don’t be shy: join us and contribute to the conversation!

Join the discussion here: https://theiplink.com/group/

Vaccinate Your Business Against Your Competition with a Patent 🦠

Moderna polynucleotide primary mRNA construct

I got my second vaccine dose this week and ended up getting pretty sick for a day or so. As I was laying in bed recovering (wondering how I would get around to writing my weekly patent post), it crossed my mind that the vaccine is actually a great analogy for patent protection.

It takes time to book an appointment, go to the pharmacy, and get your shot. And there is the cost associated with the fact that you may react with various symptoms that could last a day or two.

It also takes time and effort to prepare for a good patent application, and it is going to cost a fair bit initially to complete the preparation, draft, and file the application.

The vaccine protects you against COVID-19 and the patent protects you against your competition!

On the other hand, if you don’t get the vaccine, you could be facing a far more serious situation. There is a significant risk of getting COVID-19, and potentially even dying from it.

Similarly for innovative businesses that depend on their technology for their competitive advantage, if you don’t get a patent application it could cause serious issues. Your competition may create a similar product and run you out of the market, or even put you out of business.

If your business is innovative, get your vaccine against your competition by pursuing a patent!

PS: If you’re wondering about the image, it’s a polynucleotide primary mRNA construct from one of Moderna’s patents related to the COVID-19 vaccine.