Patent Portfolio for Start-up Companies
Built a powerful patent portfolio with limited budget.
Startups clearly understand the importance of “IP (Intellectual property)”. However, the relationship between “lack of funds” and “patent portfolio” has been repeatedly discussed. It seems that start-up companies cannot survive without patent rights, which constantly plagues the founding team-“I know that intellectual property rights are important, but there is no money to plan.”
The following guide answers are used to help analyze the company’s status, and the patent attorney will list the patent portfolio problems frequently encountered by startups:
1. “Can my invention be patented?”
1.1 Why—Why apply for a patent？
When planning a patent portfolio for a startup team, please think about “Why apply for a patent?” For different reasons, the application strategy will be different.
There are many reasons for applying for a patent, including: “protection of inventions”, “marketing purposes”, “subject matter of financing”, ” subject matter of technology funding”, “needs for government counseling programs”, “for capital injection”, “feeling the need for “Patent”, “As a record of life”, “Use as a resume”… and so on.
1.2 What—What can I apply for?
To apply for a patent, it is necessary to disclose information to the public. You have to ask yourself whether the content of the application is suitable for disclosing.
1.3 Where/How—”Patent Type”, “Region”, “Time” and “Quantity”
- “Patent Type“: “In Taiwan, it is divided into invention, new type, and design. It is different in other countries, and it is planned according to the purpose of the application. For example, design patents are used to protect the appearance and computer graphical user interfaces (UI/GUI), which can make patent rights exercise more diverse.
- “Region“: Influencing expenses, rights maintenance costs, and rights exercise costs, we should think carefully. For example, the methods of interpretation of claims in the United States, Europe, and Japan are different from those in Taiwan, and the litigation procedures are also different.
- “Time“: The interaction with existing operational plans should be considered carefully. For example: early publication of patent applications after the application date (18-months publication).
- “Quantity“: Influence with application items and patent portfolio. For example, the single technology that the inventor thinks can actually be used for surrounding or fencing through three patent cases, and the effect is better. For example, better exercise of rights, authorization, cross-authorization, litigation, technology funding… etc.).
2. “Can the patent application fee be cheaper?”
Yes, the scale of the patent portfolio matches the operation plan of the start-up companies.
“Patent rights” are “intangible assets” with a valid period. Intangible assets are usually listed in accounting items, which can be amortized according to age. Startups should use longer-term plans to lay out opportunities for the next five years. The application fee is the expenditure for flexible adjustment of fees after understanding the start-up company’s operating plan.
3. “Applying for a new model seems to be faster and cheaper. If it is only for obtaining a patent certificate, can I only apply for a new model?”
Yes, but the standards for handling new patent applications should not be different from those for invention patents.
The “new patent right” delays the actual “patent validity review” until the time when the patent right is exercised. In other words, when proceeding with litigation, authorization or other use, the validity of the patent will be carefully examined. At that time, the validity of new patents will be reviewed according to the examination standards for invention patents. Therefore, when drafting a new patent application, it should still be done at the level of an invention patent.
In addition, when a new type patent exercises the patent right, a “new type patent technology report” shall be prompted. The “New Patent Technology Report” can be used as one of the basis for evaluating new patent rights. Through the “New Patent Technology Report” issued by the Intellectual Property Bureau, the validity of the patent can be known and other actions can be taken.
4. “Our company does not have high technology, can it be patented?”
People often overlook the advantages of design patents in the exercise of rights: “explain the scope of patent rights through “schematics”.” Design patents are more intuitive than using words to explain the scope of patent rights for inventions or new models. It has a special effect in practice; especially in the process of commercialization, design patents provide third parties with a more intuitive way to view the products of startups.
The Patent Law defines design patents as follows: “Design refers to the creation of all or part of the shape, pattern, color or combination of an article through visual appeal.” This means that a creation with “visual appeal” can be used as a subject matter of application. In addition, Taiwan’s “graphical user interface” is currently subject matter of application for design patents. This means that the operating interface of the screen can be the subject matter of a design patent application.