Navigating The Future: Strategic Patent Tactics And Their (Limited) Impact On Patent Drafting

When I hear that someone wants to file a patent for something that does not yet exist, at least as a proof-of-concept model or as a simple simulation, I am always very skeptical: “Are we about to squander funds on this patent application?”

The question I am addressing today is the validity of filing patents for concepts that do not yet exist. Is there a method to identify and systematically search for such concepts? And if there exists such subject matter, what does it look like? Can we characterize it such that we can systematically look for it? If we can do this, it would be far superior to random guesswork.

Three Sound Patent Strategies

The objective here is to view patent drafting not just as a means of obtaining legal protection for current inventions but also as a strategy to strengthen one’s future market position. In my experience, I have identified three insightful patent tactics for that stem from this objective and that have a significant practical influence on patent drafting:

I am dubbing these three strategies as “prevent being invented on top of”, “prevent being circumvented”, and “prevent being blocked for the future”.

Tea-Leaf Reading as a Patent Tactic

There is a fourth patent tactic that I have also seen: Forecast Future Developments. In other words, anticipate and patent potential future applications and technologies from what goes on in the patent filing area, not just current inventions.

Conclusion

When crafting patent applications, it is critical to have a forward-looking approach. Companies must strategize with the future market in mind. As technology advances, proficiency in drafting patents is essential. This skill serves to safeguard current innovations and secures the liberty to continue developing new ones. In the competitive realm of technology, the capacity to anticipate and plan for future developments is essential to maintaining a leading position.

There is a belief among some that employing computer software to analyze the current patent environment and subsequently forecasting and patenting future breakthrough inventions, is beneficial. Similar to what is promised for financial market prediction software. However, based on my three decades of experience in the patent industry, I have yet to witness the practical success of this approach in real-world application.

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