Suppose you’re General Counsel for a Company that has given you a budget of $100,000 per year to invest in protecting new proprietary technologies with new patent applications.

Here are seven tips for investing $100K in patent filings now:

1.      Ask why the Company wants patents. Has the Company been on the receiving end of a patent infringement lawsuit? Has it had its products copied and undersold? Do you have prolific inventors? Make sure the business purpose makes sense.

2.       Ask which new technologies are worth patenting. Will the new, improved products sell at premium prices? Will they help gain market share? Again, make sure there’s a good business case for each filing.

3.      Get agreement from management. Do they understand that the real money comes from practicing the patents for revenues and margins? Do they think patents are commodities and your job is to shop for low price quotes for preparation and filing? You may need to reset expectations.

4.      Invest 100% of your patent budget. Failure to invest in new patents will leave the Company vulnerable now and for years to come.

5.      Build your own patent portfolio. Good patents are hard to buy. The Company’s own technical staff may produce the most valuable patentable inventions.

6.      Work closely with your patent attorney. He or she will help flesh out invention disclosures, saving you time and trouble, and help you to build a patent portfolio that will make money for the Company.

7.      File half as many patent applications and invest twice as much in each one. Well-written applications for key products will fare best in examination and enforcement. Get the best patents you can to protect your Company’s proprietary technologies and exclusive markets.