Creating a patent portfolio is time consuming and ultimately expensive. For a single US patent, some estimate that it may take on average $30K to create a patent specification and as much as another $20K for patent prosecution and maintenance fees over the lifetime of the patent. Yet it has been estimated that only 7% to 10% of US patents ever provide a monetary return to their owners.1
In evaluating patents for sale or enforcement, I frequently encounter a wide range of mistakes that detract from patent value. Here are some of the most significant errors and what might be done to avoid them.
(1) Being one’s own patent attorney:
An inventor does not have to hire a patent attorney to file an application at the US Patent and Trademark Office (PTO). Especially in these difficult economic times, the incentive to go it alone may be irresistible. If possible, resist that urge. There are so many rules and risks involved that will not be apparent at first blush, and even if you convince the PTO to give you a patent, you could find out years later that it is not worth the paper on which it is printed.