If you own a business and have created a product, you may already know that it’s no minor accomplishment to obtain a utility patent. If you have encountered utility patents, you’ve probably had to overcome claim rejections and respond to at least one office action. If you were successful in getting a utility patent, congratulations! That said, it’s likely that there are still additional patents to look into to make sure that your competitors don’t try to take your idea.
You may be hesitant to invest in filing further patents, especially after everything that was involved in getting the first patent. This may have you asking, “How many patents are enough?”
While many people think one patent is sufficient, others think more is better. What is the right answer? We’ll break that down for you below.
Building a Patent Portfolio
Companies and individuals build patent portfolios by filing one or more continuing applications. A patent portfolio groups together all patents for one service, product, or innovation. This makes for a stronger case in the event that the patent owner needs to argue invalidity or non-infringement. It is much harder to avoid a group of patents (patent portfolio) than it is to avoid just one patent.
Patent portfolios could apply to licensing agreements producing royalties, a cease-and-desist, or most other products and services.
Competitors Will Try Just About Everything
When competitors are dedicated to ripping off a product or service, they’ll usually do just about anything to work around a claim. Every utility patent possesses a minimum of one independent claim. It is not uncommon for a handful of independent claims to apply to a granted utility patent, given that up to three independent claims can be covered by a non-provisional patent application.
If your patent has only one independent claim, competitors may be able to avoid infringement by honing in on that single claim. One of the best ways to strengthen your patent rights are to file multiple independent claims. Patent owners can build an arsenal of independent claims by filing continuing applications, also known as child applications.
Patents Can Be Complicated – We Can Help
The backbone of any business is often based on unique ideas and concepts. It is therefore important to protect your ideas, especially if they turn into products like medical devices, construction tools, outdoor recreation equipment, or other consumer product(s). The race to succeed in today’s market is fierce; competitors will try anything and everything to get a leg up on the competition. Protect yourself and your business!
Interested in securing a patent? Let us be your creative counsel. We are TBillick Law PLLC. We specialize in the following:
- Patent prosecution
- Trademark prosecution
- Intellectual property dispute
- Entertainment and technology contracts
- and more
Contact us by calling 1-833-BILLICK (245-5425) or use our online form to send a message.