A few decades ago, filing a patent application was considered a big deal. It was a time when one valued quality more and applying for patents was more than just a game of numbers. The count of casual filings was low, and one typically valued granted patents highly in terms of both their quality and face value. However, as times changed, the patent application methods changed too. Companies began submitting hundreds of patent applications each year to secure a monopoly on technology, leading to massive patent portfolios that began to weigh on companies’ financial resources. This led to the need for patent pruning. Today, patent pruning is considered one of the best ways to optimize a patent portfolio.
This article discusses patent portfolio pruning, why it is essential, its process, objective as well as subjective analysis, and more. But first, let us understand the costs involved in maintaining patent portfolios and how patent pruning can help bring them down.
Costs to maintain Portfolios & Patent Pruning Method
The core idea behind performing patent pruning is to reduce the overall costs for the patent owner. Usually, research and development (R&D) expenditures, patent filing and prosecution costs, and maintenance fees are significant monetary investments involved with obtaining and maintaining a patent portfolio. Furthermore, these costs increase year on year, adding to the financial pressure on the IP owner.
This expense rises exponentially for patents retained for more than a decade as they are presumed to hold a much higher market value. Companies must therefore assess their patent portfolios, determine unessential patents, and eliminate them to avoid unnecessary maintenance fees. One can perform an additional study on the patents that do not belong to the core business and rank lower on the quality metrics to determine whether removing them is a good choice. This is where the concept of patent pruning comes into play. Read more