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Patent Strength Analysis

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What are the current and potential strengths and values of my patents or inventions?

Like other intangible assets, technical intellectual property in the form of patents, patent applications or trade secrets, has a value that depends upon not only the asset in isolation, but also in the larger context of the business environment.  The strength or value of a patent will fluctuate with technical advances since it was issued, market demand trends for products using the patented technology and the latest court rulings on interpreting patent law.

What analysis of a patent is appropriate depends critically on the risk or opportunity at hand:

Are you considering buying or licensing standalone patents?

Do you need an independent assessment of invention disclosures submitted by your employees?

Are you involved in M&A or investment due diligence of a company which has patents, trade secrets or patent applications?

Although each situation will be different, analysis can be broadly classified into the following categories:

Patent Triage Assessment
Patent SWOT Analysis
Patentability Analysis
Freedom to Operate Assessment

Patent Triage Assessment

Like its medical counterpart, Patent Triage is a rapid determination of whether a patent, patent application or invention disclosure has sufficient viability to justify further investment.  If any serious problems are uncovered, more detailed analysis is generally not worth the investment.  A numeric rating of patent quality, claim scope, alternatives and commercial applicability is assigned to each patent without doing external research.  Further analysis is appropriate for patents with high Patent Triage rankings.

Patent SWOT Analysis

A Patent SWOT analysis builds upon the Patent Triage assessment above by taking a closer look at the strength, weaknesses, opportunities and threats that affect the value of a patent or application.   Technical, patent legal and/or commercial perspectives can be considered in this SWOT.  The scope of the analysis is customized to match the intended business objective.  In some cases, determining commercial application opportunities may be the only consideration.  In other cases, the threat of any practical design work-around may be of primary interest.  Since threats and opportunities may be considered to be opposite perspectives on the same characteristic, uncovering the threat of a work-around may provide actionable information creating opportunities to expand patent protection or to save money by avoiding poor investments.

Patentability Analysis

A Patentability Analysis reviews prior art to come to an opinion on the likelihood that claims in a patent application or invention disclosure will issue as a patent.  Like any risk assessment, there are tradeoffs in the amount of research invested in the analysis versus the uncertainty in the assessment.

Freedom to Operate Assessment

An FTO Assessment focuses on how patents owned by others might limit the use of your invention or product.  When you provide a particular prior art patent of concern, the assessment includes an infringement claim chart for that specific patent.

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Note:  Although Dan Whittle is a registered Patent Agent, he will not file and prosecute patent applications with the USPTO for clients.  Clients receive the benefit of Dan's expertise without disturbing any long-term team working relationships with other patent practitioners.    This strict policy insures there is no uncertainty about the objectivity of any analysis done for you or interest in competing with your patent attorney or patent agent for application filing services.

To explore your particular needs and how Patent Leverage LLC can assist, select Contact.

For general information on patents, refer to the articles and links in the Resources.

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