Site icon Duncan Bucknell

IP portfolio costs – when less is more

There’s an article by Patent Attorneys Craig Opperman and Carina Tan of Morgan Lewis in the December 2007 – January 2008 issue of IAM-Magazine which advises companies that although it sounds counter-intuitive, they can drop patenting costs by filing less patents and make the portfolio more effective by focusing on the quality of the patents they do file. IPSpotlight posted about the article as well.

Maybe I’m missing something here, but this isn’t counter-intuitive. It is simple maths.

After the initial expense of drafting and prosecuting an application, each patent will have the same costs for the remainder of their life – associated with renewals. So, if you have a bigger portfolio of patents which were cheaper to initially file, then (depending on the relative sizes of the portfolios and the costs upfront) the larger portfolio is always going to catch up with and then overtake the smaller one as the renewals burden is higher.

A patent drafted cheaply is said to be of lower quality – so wouldn’t that mean that prosecution is harder? If so, the larger (‘cheaper to draft’) portfolio will catch up with the smaller (‘expensive to draft’) portfolio even sooner.

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