Patent Portfolio

A patent portfolio is a collection of patents belonging to a single entity or a group of entities. A strongly formulated patent portfolio may have a number of different strategic purposes, including the:

Patent portfolio strategies will be company specific, and are very much dependent on the market and IP budget. For example, a patent portfolio benefits companies developing new products, helping them defend against larger, rival companies.

Patent Portfolios for established companies

On the other hand, companies with significant financial resources may adopt a strategy of purchasing or invalidating patents owned by other parties. The value of a corporation's patent portfolio can also be a substantial source of revenue for a company. For example, IBM generates almost $1 billion annually from licensing its patent portfolio, which currently consists of over 40,000 active patents worldwide.

Large companies may contemplate patent pools, whereby two or more companies form an agreement to cross-license their patents relating to a particular technology. The formation of a patent pool can mitigate the time and costs of research and development, and of course litigation.

Patent Portfolios for start-up companies

If you are a start-up company, there may be many strategies to consider, dependent on a number of factors such as time and money. For example, development of an effective patent portfolio may require a compromise between obtaining as many patents as possible, and obtaining only a certain number of patents with the greatest prospects. In both circumstances, the patents should be relevant to the particular products and technologies and in line with business objectives. Licensing opportunities should be taken into consideration.

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