A key choice in your intellectual property strategy is how you will use your intellectual property to increase the value of your business. If you choose to pursue patent protection, there are several methods to drive value with your patent(s).
If you plan to make and sell the invention yourself, then your strategy will likely include enforcement. Patents provide an exclusive right (for a limited period of time) to make, use, import, and sell the patented invention. This means that you can sue other businesses who put infringing products on the market. This method protects a value stream from sales but carries the costs of identifying infringers and the cost of lawsuits to enforce your rights.
You may also choose to pursue a licensing model, where you grant others the right to use your patent in exchange for a royalty. A strong set of licensing arrangements can lead to greater revenue streams, but licenses should be carefully crafted to protect your rights and ensure you obtain a fair deal.
In some cases, a patent can be used as leverage to drive investment or acquisition of your business. Investors are likely to see a patent as a valuable business asset and may be encouraged to invest additional capital, allowing you to scale. Larger companies may also find your patent valuable enough to buy your business to expand their own operations.
A strong intellectual property strategy will optimize multiple uses of your patent to build value for your business. You should not just consider whether you can patent your invention, but also what you will do with a patent once it issues, to ensure that the costs and drawbacks associated with seeking patent protection are justified by the potential economic upside.