When the markets revolt in upheaval over poor governmental policies or other causes, business owners tighten up and prepare for the worst. Patents are similar. The create a certainty with predictable results business owners can foresee. That doesn’t preclude possible litigation over patent rights, but once solidified, a patent can become a valuable asset impacting the many aspects of a going concern.
Without going into detail, the power of a patent is best revealed in a case that is presently ongoing. A startup developed a medical device that eliminated pain by stimulating the spine. When it introduced their product in the American market, a large medical device company challenged them. The startup began making considerable inroads in the market, posting gains of nearly four times that of previous quarters, when the large company instituted a legal challenge. Though it has lost on several key decisions, the large company has continued to expand its similar product in the market.
From the above example, the lesson learned is that patents protect a business, but they also pose a risk when litigation becomes a legal sword to gain a business advantage. This does not represent a rare or singular act, but with so many patents existing as the foundation for many businesses, it has become an annoying norm. The outcome of the case is not presently known, but from the facts and rulings, it represents an exemplary paradigm of the benefits and disadvantages inherent to patents.
The stability a patent provides a company is unassailable. For smaller firms and startups, they may only have a single patent that the business relies on for its very breath. Employees, as do owners, view it as a safeguard to their jobs, coupled with the ability to meet their living expenses and those of their family. The above litigation is a perfect example of what is at issue and why patents are so important. Driving the point home, the small firm complained to the judge in the case that if the large company was able to continue to expand in the market, they would have to compete against the medical device they invented.
That comment goes right to the heart of why patents issue. If a product qualifies for a patent, then it should provide protection for its creator. This way the market becomes an incentive for others to create. History has told this story time and again. Recently, the best example is the cannabis or marijuana industry. Like California’s Gold Rush, innovations began to multiply as competitors looked for ways to better compete. Today, growers seek ways to improve crop production, quality, higher THC content and even cannabinoid concentrations for medical use as laws against cannabis use relax across the nation.
Once the patent is secure and the product successful, the company gains the rare distinction of protection over several decades. Reliance on the company, by both employees and those who conduct business with the patent holder, grows. It imbues a certain notoriety and reputation a company could not otherwise earn. Its product, given viable marketability, can last a long time, promising a continued revenue stream and business associations that may prove invaluable.
Success breeds success, as the saying goes. The company becomes more attractive to prospective employees who want to associate with a winning firm and one that is establishing or has an established name. Many younger executives like jumping on board with a growing concern, seeing a brighter future with greater prospects for advancement. Attracting talent bodes well for any growing concern both presently and prospectively.
In this same vein, a patent also promises continued permanence in other ways. People look to a patent like a rock in a stream, but patents move with time – they move downstream. With time other patents arrive that may either obsolesce a prior patent or need it to give life to other patents as part of a complementary asset. So the value may change, but the change promises continued life and stability.