Posts by russkrajec

NDAs ARE Actually Important

Non Disclosure Agreements and Proprietary Information and Inventions Agreements: these are critically important. Some entrepreneurs use NDAs as weapons to ward off the evil people who will “steal” their ideas.  This is using NDAs badly. Use these agreements to set a positive tone of a budding relationship, but also to make sure a startup actually…

Read More

Myth: Inventorship

Inventorship is vitally important to a patent, but people often abuse it. I have heard of companies putting someone’s name on a patent application because they paid for it – or including your boss’s name on a patent even when they did not contribute. Improper inventorship is one of the easiest ways to kill a…

Read More

Inventing Is Easy

What is the worst symbol for an invention?  It is the light bulb.  Edison did 1000 experiments to get to the light bulb.  It was a long, methodical, painful process – then the “light bulb” moment. Good invention – and good entrepreneurship – comes from the same methodical processes, not some flash of light. Come…

Read More

Myth: Your Patent Attorney Is Your Friend

Don’t ask the barber if you need a haircut. The conflict of interest between the client and the attorney is huge. We look at an example of an inventor who thought he was getting a “good” patent but it turns out that the patent attorney was only responsible getting “a” patent.  The client was disappointed…

Read More

Willful Blindness and Patents

Inventors – and virtually everyone in the patent process – have huge blind spots. We look at Tropicana’s patents on the single greatest invention in their industry in half a century, and see how at every level nobody would do the math to see if a patent was the right strategy. It turns out that…

Read More

Patent Valuation is a Myth

Patent valuation is really slippery, and completely depends on the context. Patents can be thought of as call options on technology.  They are a time-limited bet that the market will adopt a technology. At the beginning, the patent is an out-of-the-money call option and has only potential value.  Once infringement occurs, the patent turns into…

Read More

Someone will steal my idea if I do not get a patent.

Customer feedback is essential to know if a patent is worth the expense – but some people think their idea will be “stolen” if they talk to customers. What should they do? Two answers: One, if you need to tell people about your invention when doing customer discover, you are doing it wrong. Two, there…

Read More

Why get a patent? I cannot afford to enforce it.

Many entrepreneurs (sometimes with their investor’s approval) skip getting patents.  Many say that they do not have the $2M of dry powder to enforce their patents, so they just do not play the game. Patent enforcement insurance is ridiculously affordable, especially for startup companies.  Enforcement insurance means that you have pre-paid legal fees at your…

Read More

Early and Often? This is not Voting in Chicago.

File patents early and often.  At least the patent attorney will make some money. We look at this advice and poke holes in it.  Every word in a patent hurts you. There is a huge tradeoff when you file patents.  Are you getting a good bargain?  Are you giving away too much and getting too…

Read More