The 4×4 Patent Tactics Book
Choose Patent Tactics That Serve Your Bigger Innovation Strategy
Patents are straightforward, right? (No, they are not.)
Open any IP textbook, or just Google “patent law”, and you will find all sorts of information about what you can or cannot do.
According to the above sources, patents are clearly defined by fixed laws, so they should be easy enough to understand. (Well, whenever anyone says “clearly”, it is my experience that nothing is clear, at all.)
So why are patents so difficult to put into practice? It is because patents are the products of “positive law” and not “natural law”. More on this later.
On top of that, many people overlook that patents are only one part of innovation, and not even their most important aspect.
Most people just apply patent tactics that do not fit into a bigger picture innovation strategy.
Because of this narrow focus, many innovators only get limited advice. Their attorneys will tell them everything about patents, but nothing about how it affects their business decisions.
Patents cannot be separated from your business. Doing this would be a recipe for failure.
Introducing the 4×4 Patent Tactics Book
I am currently writing a book on patent tactics. It follows organically from my earlier book The 4×4 Innovation Strategy.
If you have read that book, you will know that successful innovation has four aspects, and that Intellectual Property (IP), which includes patents, is only one of the four. Actually, it is not even the most important one (and I say this, as a patent attorney).
Still, I get questions about patents all the time. So in this book, I will focus on patents, which are only one of 25 tools in a patent attorney’s toolbox. But they are the most complicated, yet frequently demanded, IP tool.
I find that properly helping a client with their patent application requires a lot of explanation. Important decisions must be made and clients must be well-informed if they do not want to waste their hard-earned money.
If you are an innovator or businessman, you need to understand patents. Do not delegate these decisions to others, and especially not to the employees of your patent attorney.
Patents are difficult, non-linear problems
Patents can be harder to understand than you think, because they are non-linear problems.
What this means is that patents cannot be considered in a vacuum. All those IP textbooks or patent law websites I mentioned earlier? They only talk about the specifics: what is a patent, how do I file a patent application, when can it get granted, etc.
They do not even consider the bigger picture “why”:
Is a patent the best way to protect my invention?
What are the limitations of getting a patent, in my context?
What are the real benefits of this patent, for me, right now?
How does it affect my go-to-market strategy?
And my favourite question, Do I even need a patent?
These are essential questions! Because patents need to be considered as an interlocking part of your 4×4 innovation strategy, which comprises R&D, FTO, IP and Market Validation.
A good strategy is like a jigsaw puzzle: all the pieces (tactics) need to fit, in order to create the bigger picture.
Strategy defines your long-term goals and how you are planning to achieve them. In other words, your strategy gives you the path toward achieving your organization’s mission. Tactics are much more concrete and are often oriented toward smaller steps and a shorter time frame along the way.
In this book, I will combine both. While the title has ‘tactics’ in it, these tactics are not isolated. Rather, they are embedded in a larger, workable strategy.
Chapters Of My Book
The 4×4 Patent Tactics will follow a similar outline to The 4×4 Innovation Strategy. It will take you through an overview of important concepts, strategies and examples, to details of specific situations and tactics, to the consequences and future outlook.
All these will be supported by real anecdotes and the wisdom that I have gathered over 25 years as a patent attorney and entrepreneur.
A. The Structure
- Patents are Positive Law and Patents are different from country to country. There may be problems with patents that are granted by multinational organizations (EP-UK, EP-DE. And there is only one common principle: Art. 4 Paris Convention. Everything else is territorial.
- Two bad examples, of how to not use patents in business
a) do R&D first, and only then do patents
b) do R&D and market response testing, and only then do patents
B. The Hierarchy
- Myths about patent applications
- Valid motives to file a patent application
- The 4×4 Patent Tactics: Patent filing and patent prosecution meet the 4×4 Innovation Strategy. Growing patent applications: Can I add inventions and inventors on to my existing patent application? At what time will my competitors be able to know what I am doing?
C. The Rules
- Do I need to improve my invention before I file a patent?
- Where to file patents
a) Prior Art Searches (done by inventor, done by a patent attorney, done by suppliers, done by patent offices)
b) Freedom-to-Operate Searches are NOT a part of the 4×4 Patent Tactics
- Flat-fee patent applications
- Bespoke patent applications
- Litigation grade patents
- Be your own dentist: draft and file a patent application yourself
- Fast vs. slow patent grants
- Divisional/Continuation patent applications
D. The Consequences
- Two successful examples, to contrast with the two bad examples from Part A.
E. Conclusion and the Future
- Re-visit the patent myths of chapter B, and explain why they are myths
- Questionnaires for Inventors
- Questionnaires for Applicants
Be part of this book: get your questions answered
I believe in only writing useful books that readers actually want to read. So I need your feedback.
- Is there anything else you want to see in the book outline?
- Do you have specific questions about patents that remain unanswered?
- Have you had a bad experience with patents? And would you like to share your story, with my thousands of readers and community members?
I welcome you to be part of this book.
Enter the members-only discussion forum below, or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org
As an early contributer, you will get credited in the book. You will also receive a free copy when it is published, as well as all future upgrades. Bonus: if you aren’t a member already, you get 1-year membership to the ip-lawyer-tools.com community. You can then discuss your question in the forum here:
Send in your questions! I look forward to hearing from you.