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:

“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:

Protect Your Business Against the Large Players in Your Industry 😨

If you’re investing your time, energy, and money into building a new physical or software product, what steps are you taking now to prevent the big players like Amazon, Google, Facebook, and Apple from creating their own versions of your product once you put in all the hard work to prove the market?

If there’s no market for the product you’re developing, the big players will probably never notice your efforts, but my guess is that you’re hoping for and planning for the opposite. You likely have good reason to believe there is a need for your product and that customers will pay for it. Once you prove this (with hundreds, thousands, or tens of thousands of paying customers), why wouldn’t the industry leader build their own version of your product? You’ve probably seen Amazon Basics products popping up, or Apple integrating the latest, greatest app into their core OS. Would they, or the big player in your industry, do the same?

This a problem for you NOW, even if you’re still in the early stages of development. The problem is, you need to file a patent BEFORE you first sell or publicly release your product. So if you wait until your bigger competitors start noticing you, it will be far too late to consider patent protection.

I would love to help you develop a patent strategy and sort through whether a patent would help or hinder your business. This is exactly what our core programs are designed to do, so that your business has a far better hope of holding your own against your bigger competitors when the time comes. Let’s chat!

Develop a better product with insight into existing patents 🧑‍💻

Review competitive technologies early

If you’re still developing your business and product and are thinking about looking into patents once you’ve finished developing your product, now is the perfect time to jump into the first phase of The IP Link’s Product Protection Playbook program.

Learn more in the video below:

Find the Gaps in your Market

I’ve had a couple clients wait until their product was further along in its development only to find that they were “reinventing the wheel” so to say. Completing an in-depth competitive review will illuminate the gaps in the market and help you focus the development of your product. A careful review of related patents will greatly improve your chances of uncovering competitors and competitive technologies.

In one case, even though a company I worked with was aware of their competitors, they hadn’t carefully searched the patent literature early in the creation of their product so they missed an important patent in their space that was owned by a company that wasn’t on their radar prior to the search.

Product Development from the Shoulders of Giants

The added benefit of completing such a search early in the development of your product is that you may be able to use what you find in existing patent applications, expired patent documents, patents in countries that you don’t operate in, and scientific publications to improve your own product. You do have to be careful not to infringe on any active patents in your country, but the vast majority of published patents and other documents never issued or are no longer active, and therefore won’t impact your ability to operate.

Further, gaining an understanding of the prior art will enable you far more effectively improve on it. Without knowing what already exists, you may end up developing a product or solution that is already publicly known, even if it may be in an obscure corner of the patent literature. Why waste your time on that, when you could start from what’s known and improve on it!

When it comes time to file your own patent application, you’ll be far ahead of the pack and much more likely to have a patentable product on your hands. When it comes time to sell your product, your offering will be truly unique!

If this sounds like where you are currently in your business, let’s jump on a call and I’ll share all the info you need to join The Product Protection Playbook.