What does a value-driven patent portfolio look like?

Minneapolis patent attorney Steve Lundberg, founding shareholder of Schwegman Lundberg & Woessner uses a graph to show what the ideal value-driven patent portfolio looks like.

Contact Steve Lundberg

Email: [email protected]

Phone: (612) 373-6902


The red line on this particular graphic represents the typical behavior of the average company, meaning that their patenting may be about two years out into the future from now on this timeline. And it also represents that they’re hanging on to a lot of patents, which represents, essentially, all the way up to the top of green bar and the red line in the past that are maybe not of value anymore. And those are all costing money, because they all have maintenance fees attached with them or they may be still in prosecution. So there’s cost involved with hanging onto patents. You have to pay taxes on those patents.

So what this slide represents is that we’re going to get rid of the green portion of each year’s patent account – and this is a patent account that we’re looking at here – and we’re going to save that budget. And what we’re gonna do is we’re gonna move that effort, that budget, and we’re gonna put it into patenting in the future by having brainstorming sessions, and that represents the blue segments out into the future that are going past the normal, essentially, horizon, which is maybe now plus two years. We’re gonna go now plus three years, four years, five years, and six years in terms of what could be possible in the future. And often that’s like, okay, we know today the speed of the Internet is X. We know that five years from now it’s going to be 10X.

What’s going to be possible in five years that were not even thinking about right now because it’s completely infeasible? And now we’re gonna be thinking about inventions that will become feasible five years from now or perhaps they’ll become feasible because the cost of a wireless chip will be $0.02, and so let’s think about the world where everything can have a chip in it. So these are the types of questions you ask yourself for the future that many times you don’t bother asking at all, because that’s really of not much concern from a practical standpoint for business, because you can’t do anything with it or your predicting the future may not even come true. But from a patenting perspective, they could be extremely valuable patents if you can actually predict the future accurately and patent in the future.