One of the most popular questions I get from startups and entrepreneurs is should software inventions be patented? The why-not, self-rationalization, is that software can't be patented (which is not true) and if we tried the patent office would likely reject the patent application making the whole thing a giant waste of time and money.
While admittedly the US Patent Office has been a challenge when it comes to software patents for the past several years, in early 2019 they published guidance on how the Examiners would evaluate, and yes, grant software patents.
Consider how you can leverage intellectual property in your sales and marketing process to land customers.
While the end game in applying for a patent is having it granted, I'd like to offer three ways a pending patent application, software, or otherwise can be used as a sales and marketing tool for startups and entrepreneurs looking to land business with big customers.
- Competitive Advantage | Advertising that you have a patent pending on your own proprietary technology creates a competitive advantage and allows you to differentiate your product offering, in the marketplace, from competitors.
- Blocking Competitors | Typically 18 months after filing a patent application it publishes. Upon publication, Examiners can begin using it as prior art to stop others from patenting your idea. While startups always fear the big tech companies, never underestimate the value of blocking your "customer" from becoming your "competitor" after they learn about your product.
- Intangible Value Creation | Big companies are always afraid to work with small companies. Scale, field service, regulatory, going concern worry, just because, you name it any excuse will do. In my startup, I noticed we started having more sales and marketing success after being vocal in our industry about building a patent portfolio, and the applications started to be published and granted. Looking back our patents, as well as our experience, began to define us as an industry innovator and leader. Suddenly, wanting to become a customer or partner was an easy choice and our sales and business grew quickly.
As your company looks to create sales traction, if you are working on innovative software and algorithms consider patenting and organizing your sales and marketing efforts to leverage IP as a tool to close sales.
Ways we can help you:
- Drafting, filing, and prosecuting patent applications
- Embedding with innovation teams to harvest, refine, and protect ideas
- Identifying patentable ideas within startup technologies
- Landscaping markets to identify new opportunities
- Developing patent strategies for products and startup
- Managing the patent creation process from concept to product launch
- Searching ideas for prior art patents
- Reviewing prior art patents with product development teams
- Building IP for VC/PE portfolio companies
Learn more at www.Gr8BigIdeas.com
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