The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office saw a flood of new applications this month, ahead of the most recent America Invents Act implementation deadline. Unless the filing parties conducted a thorough review of their intellectual assets, however, they may well struggle to achieve their broader business goals.
Although the official numbers have not yet been confirmed, USPTO officials told Reuters that the number of patent applications filed last week represented a three-to-fourfold increase over the average rate of approximately 10,000 seen in the first 10 weeks of the year. Filing applications in a timely manner is just one of many skills required to build and commercialize a lucrative patent portfolio, however.
According to Law360, leveraging in-house resources or recruiting outside experts to conduct an exhaustive patent portfolio audit is an essential exercise for any entity hoping to gain protection and deflect competition. This process will help companies or individuals construct smarter application pipelines, which help prioritize investments with the most potential while simultaneously identifying patent coverage gaps that could be exploited by rivals.
In addition to highlighting missed opportunities and impending risks, a thorough patent audit also forces holders to objectively assess their assets. According to Law360, considerable costs can be saved simply by allocating resources away from "old, irrelevant or completely impractical" inventions that stand little chance of generating revenue or walling off competitors.