Patent Research and the Start-Up: Pivot Quicker, Save Time, Invest Smarter

At SPSG, we are the patent research destination for many start-up companies. This article is part 1 of a multi-article series focused on ways we have seen, first-hand, how effective patent research can benefit start-up companies. Specifically, in this case, we will focus on early-stage invention discovery and patentability studies, and a particular start-up client of SPSG.

It is often the case that the IP position of a new technology can greatly impact its commercialization success / potential. It is imperative that a start-up perform early-stage IP assessments, prior to investing substantial resources, time, and money into a new technology. Early-stage IP research can help precisely calibrate a technology against the competitive environment, which may result in, for example, rethinking the technology’s application, which is certainly a less costly decision to make when done at an early stage. At SPSG, we often partner with our start-up clients, assisting them throughout the invention discovery and commercialization process. Aside from our IP expertise (former USPTO Examiners, in-house searching, law firms, etc.), our technical backgrounds (from leading science and engineering universities – MIT, Rutgers, PSU, etc.) help us to become intimately familiar with the technology and thus able to effectively comprehend what competitors are doing and where there could be opportunities to carve a niche (this will be covered in-depth in our next article).

Once an early-stage technology is developed, we find that quicker, more cost-effective patentability studies can provide useful guidance in most cases. While a patentability study will not generate comprehensive data in the form of what the current state-of-the-art is, a patentability study will answer the question or whether the early-stage technology is taught in the prior art, and who some of the major players are in the field (which can be useful in determining licensing partners, etc.). If dead-on prior art is located at this early-stage, this can provide powerful guidance to the start-up, enabling a quicker pivot or rethinking of the technology, thus enabling smarter decision-making and time-saving, which every start-up needs to maximize. Partnering with an IP search firm early in the invention discovery process is thus critical in understanding how the early-stage technology fits in the patent landscape and whether it makes sense to pursue commercialization of the technology, etc.

We recently had the pleasure of working with Colorado-based energy start-up, Affian Solutions. Here is what their CEO has to say about our work together:

“When prioritizing between start-up/business duties– outsourcing of invention discovery and patentability tasks is valuable. [SPSG], with its thorough and quick results, expedited our invention process– helping us make important decisions faster, making pivots earlier.” – Kyle Prawel, CEO, Affian Solutions

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