What is the best way to assess the potential value or use of a patent portfolio? Before we examine this, it’s important to clarify that a patent only has value in the context of its place in a portfolio and in how the portfolio is used to support the organization’s business strategy. Let’s look at two examples. A Patent Assertion Entity will evaluate patent value based solely on the potential revenue that will come from a licensing program. On the other hand, an operating company typically places a higher value on patents that provide protection. This can be the ability to defend leadership in a profitable market category or the ability to offer protection as a sole-sourced product’s revenue stream.
An organization’s overall IP strategy should support business strategies and help increase the value of the company. IP strategy will be different depending on the business and market. Value is not always about how much money can be generated by patents. Companies may want to motivate employees; attract customers, attract business partners or investors; protect existing products and the ability to improve them in the future; block or intimidate the competition; license to improve market penetration, generate income or gain access to third-party technology; improve their return on investment, or generate income or savings through joint-ventures, mergers and acquisitions, or investing in start-ups, among other strategic IP goals. Truly valuable patents are rare. Studies show that fewer than 5% of patents in a typical technology patent portfolio are valuable. Finding these rare valuable patents in a large patent portfolio is a challenging task.