Patent Strategy and the Paradox of the Problem Solver

You cannot expect anyone to sell against their own vested interests with enthusiasm.  Any person who makes a living solving problems has a vested interest in the continued existence of those problems.  Doctors and disease, police and criminals, lawyers and lawsuits, among others, intertwine in complex relationships where to obviate a problem can also mean to destroy a livelihood.  This means that problem solvers with a vested interest in solving problems the conventional way may not be your best strategists for creating groundbreaking new approaches to dealing with problems.

If you seek advice from a patent prosecutor or litigator about patent strategy, then you should also expect that you will be doing a lot of patent prosecution or litigation.  This is no different in principle than if you ask the owner of a golf course how to spend your summer leisure, then you should expect to play a lot of golf.  Sometimes this advice will be right on point.  The more likely result, however, is that you will spend more money on playing golf and more money on your patent prosecution and litigation than you should because it is in the vested interest of those given you advice that you should do so.

If you seek a comprehensive strategy for spending your summer leisure, then you need to find an expert in someone who benefits from your decision within the full range of possibilities you wish to explore.  If you seek a strategy for the full range of possibilities for protecting and exploiting your IP, then you need to find an expert who benefits from your decision within the full range of possibilities you can consider.  The interests of you and your advisors will align, and so will the advice.

Image credit: The Big Box of Art 1 Million

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