Warren M. Pate - Registered Patent Attorney
Whether by default or conscious choice, every business has an intellectual property (IP) strategy. Some never get past a “know nothing, do nothing” strategy. Others implement thoughtful strategies that make patents, trademarks, copyrights, or other forms of IP cost-effective tools for attracting investment, protecting profit, supporting growth, and maximizing value.
When presented with a choice, most business owners would strongly prefer a thoughtful IP strategy. However, without expert help, they often find it difficult to develop one. For example, while most business owners know that patents, trademarks, and copyrights can be valuable business assets, they often don’t know how to obtain or use them or how to set priorities among the various IP options available to them.
A common mistake is for a business owner to decide “I need a patent.” The business owner then searches for a service provider to help him or her obtain a patent. When the business owner finds a suitable service provider and says “I need a patent,” the service provider is happy to assist because that is how the service provider makes its money. Where is the mistake in this process? The mistake is that no one took the time to develop a thoughtful IP strategy.
That is, no one answered questions like:
- Do I need a patent?
- Will a patent accomplish what I want it to accomplish?
- Given what I know or don’t know right now, what should I be doing with respect to IP?
- Would some other form of IP be a better option for me?
- When would be the best time to pursue patent protection for this product? How will I use a patent to benefit my business?
- Will my sales on this product justify the cost of pursuing patent protection?
- Will my sales on this product justify the cost of enforcing this patent?
While many service providers could help business owners answer these questions, they have a built-in financial incentive not to do it. They make their money preparing and filing patent applications, trademark applications, etc. and when someone says “I want a patent,” the last thing they want to ask is “Do you really need a patent?” To solve this problem, I founded two companies, namely, Pataris, which is a consulting firm that helps business owners develop thoughtful IP strategies, and Pate Peterson, PLLC, which is a law firm that helps business owners implement their thoughtful IP strategies.
I enjoy cross country skiing so much that I do it even when there is no snow (i.e., on roller skis).
My personal interests and hobbies include cross country skiing and backpacking in the Uinta and Wind River mountains.
Juris Doctorate - SJ Quinney College of Law - University of Utah