How Small and Mid-Market Firms Can Navigate Patent Purgatory

CEOs of small and medium-sized companies face very different challenges than Apple and Samsung do.

But it’s “ridiculous” that software patents also last 20 years. “It allows the trolls to accumulate these software patents that are frankly worthless in many ways as far as innovation is concerned,” says Watkins. “However, it gives them the opportunity to look at newer patents and try to argue that the older patent was the genesis of the new patent.” That’s what happened to Bannert.

Many people have ideas for how to fix the patent system, but the problem is that each constituency, whether large or small companies, trial lawyers, research universities or venture capitalists, has conflicting interests. No sweeping reform is likely. Which means CEOs of small and medium-sized companies are truly on their own.

The bottom line? Take your patent strategy very seriously because it can make or break your company.Patent-4-compressor

Advice for CEOs in the Patent Trenches

>>Develop a technology roadmap so you know which patents are critical to your company’s long-term strategy. Seek patents for only the most important ones.

>>Whether your patents are written in-house or by outside patent attorneys, verify that they also are reviewed by litigators to make sure they are defensible in court.

>>Pick your fights carefully. Not all patent battles make economic sense.

>>If you get involved in litigation, look for ways to license your technology to the counterparty or, vice versa, buy a license to use theirs. Don’t insist on pushing the case all the way to completion. That consumes too much time and money.

Be proactive. Look for other companies’ patents you might license if that makes more business sense than developing a technology internally. Why invent it if someone else already has?


  • Get the CEO Briefing

    Sign up today to get weekly access to the latest issues affecting CEOs in every industry
  • upcoming events


    Strategic Planning Workshop

    1:00 - 5:00 pm

    Over 70% of Executives Surveyed Agree: Many Strategic Planning Efforts Lack Systematic Approach Tips for Enhancing Your Strategic Planning Process

    Executives expressed frustration with their current strategic planning process. Issues include:

    1. Lack of systematic approach (70%)
    2. Laundry lists without prioritization (68%)
    3. Decisions based on personalities rather than facts and information (65%)


    Steve Rutan and Denise Harrison have put together an afternoon workshop that will provide the tools you need to address these concerns.  They have worked with hundreds of executives to develop a systematic approach that will enable your team to make better decisions during strategic planning.  Steve and Denise will walk you through exercises for prioritizing your lists and steps that will reset and reinvigorate your process.  This will be a hands-on workshop that will enable you to think about your business as you use the tools that are being presented.  If you are ready for a Strategic Planning tune-up, select this workshop in your registration form.  The additional fee of $695 will be added to your total.

    To sign up, select this option in your registration form. Additional fee of $695 will be added to your total.

    New York, NY: ​​​Chief Executive's Corporate Citizenship Awards 2017

    Women in Leadership Seminar and Peer Discussion

    2:00 - 5:00 pm

    Female leaders face the same issues all leaders do, but they often face additional challenges too. In this peer session, we will facilitate a discussion of best practices and how to overcome common barriers to help women leaders be more effective within and outside their organizations. 

    Limited space available.

    To sign up, select this option in your registration form. Additional fee of $495 will be added to your total.

    Golf Outing

    10:30 - 5:00 pm
    General’s Retreat at Hermitage Golf Course
    Sponsored by UBS

    General’s Retreat, built in 1986 with architect Gary Roger Baird, has been voted the “Best Golf Course in Nashville” and is a “must play” when visiting the Nashville, Tennessee area. With the beautiful setting along the Cumberland River, golfers of all capabilities will thoroughly enjoy the golf, scenery and hospitality.

    The golf outing fee includes transportation to and from the hotel, greens/cart fees, use of practice facilities, and boxed lunch. The bus will leave the hotel at 10:30 am for a noon shotgun start and return to the hotel after the cocktail reception following the completion of the round.

    To sign up, select this option in your registration form. Additional fee of $295 will be added to your total.