30th June 2019
How Many Patents are Enough?
Worldwide, more than 1 million organisations own patents, while over 30,000 organisations spend more than $250,000 a year obtaining and maintaining patents.
These figures exclude the $1.7 trillion invested in R&D each year, which the global patent system is designed to protect.
Despite the high stakes and levels of investment, there is no agreed methodology to help organisations measure and report on whether their patent portfolios are fit for purpose.
This article explores some of the approaches taken by owners of large patent portfolios and suggests a way of harnessing strategic patent intelligence to organise available data into an evidence-based solution for companies that wish to minimise their exposure to general and specific threats of infringement.
There is no single answer to the question of how many patents are enough and it is hard to reconcile the various perspectives and approaches. It is tempting to assume that more is better, but this is true only if there are no significant costs associated with obtaining and maintaining substantial patent portfolios.
Such an answer also ignores the increased scrutiny from chief technology officers, chief financial officers and the many others who have an increased interest in patents.
Enter strategic patent intelligence. This article, by Cipher CEO Nigel Swycher and CTO Steve Harris, illustrates the working of the Cipher Portfolio Optimisation model.