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The Startup Patent Dilemma

Technology Demarcation

A Startup typically has a core technology that is its lifeblood – the technology that defines the startup’s identity for its current, and projected, growth strategy. It's often found that differentiating between the core technology and peripheral technology is a great starting place for determining what to patent. After all, if the Startup cannot protect its core technology, it will be quite easy for competitors to abound and impact the Startup’s bottom line. Essentially, priority is given to patenting what is deemed to be the core technology.

After determining the core technology, the story does not necessarily end there. For example, the core technology may have many components, processes, etc. that are independent and/or interconnected. In other words, to adequately protect the core technology, a determination may be made as to whether one overall patent is necessary, or several patents are necessary, to adequately protect the Startup’s core technology.

As the Startup continues to evolve, improvements to the core technology may be developed; such improvements may be just as, or even more, important to patent than the original Core Technology. Accordingly, innovation through the Startup’s pipeline may be monitored for such technology improvements to be assessed for potential patent filings.

Peripheral Technology

Concurrently, the Startup’s peripheral technology is assessed to determine if that technology, or improvements thereto, should be re-prioritized for patent filings. For example, a Startup may develop a process that peripherally helps with implementation of the Core Technology, only to find out that such peripheral process is quite unique and innovative.
The above discussion and illustrations provide only general examples of an approach for a Startup patent strategy. Various other context-specific factors may be considered in determining a patent approach for a Startup.

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