What factors can cause a patent to decline in value over time?
Minneapolis patent attorney Steve Lundberg, founding shareholder of Schwegman Lundberg & Woessner outlines the factors that can cuase a patent to decline in value over time.
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Over time, many of these inventions that were perceived to be valuable to the company at the time they were filed become less valuable or even become worthless. For example, the company may decide that it’s exiting a particular business and the technology is no longer relevant to the company’s goals. Or it’s exiting a certain product line and that patent then would become substantially less valuable to the company, although it may apply to a competitor. But certainly for their strategic purposes, it probably is something they may not be interested in pursuing. Or the technology turns out to fail in the marketplace. So it just doesn’t work out as planned, and so the technology itself just is not valuable. Therefore, the patent is not gonna be valuable. Or another thing that often happens is that we find prior art to these applications after they’re filed that greatly diminishes the potential scope of the patent that can be obtained on the technology, such that it’s easily circumvented; and, again, that would greatly drop the value of the patent.