Does your company have a concrete patent strategy? Are you protecting all of your inventive concepts and industrial design? Do you have a culture of innovation? Are your product managers, engineers, and industrial designers fully engaged in identifying patentable product features and industrial design? Do you have a budget for patents? Is patent protection built into your product development process?
If you answered no to these questions, you may be leaving money on the table for your competitors.
At Sony, I witnessed first hand how a successful patent strategy should be developed and managed. At the time, I was an engineer and engineering project leader of an audio for video mixer called the MXP-390. This was my first taste of how a patent strategy and a culture of innovation could be developed. The results of the program were quite dramatic. For example, the MXP-390 ended up with twelve patents. Several of these turned out to be key inventive concepts that gave Sony a distinct edge over their competitors. The patent program helped boost morale and foster cooperation.
While I was just a participant and was not in anyway involved in the management or development of the program, I became very interested what other companies were doing. I learned what patent strategy worked and what actually stifled innovation. These experiences help me to develop a proven patent strategy that works for companies with revenues from $15 to $100 million.