In ancient mythology, unicorns were said to be strong and super fast – so very hard to catch.
But today, startups can make their own unicorn story, even without millions of “eyeballs” or other vanity metrics. Like Infinidat for example…..
With more than 100 patents, INFINIDAT is a global leader in the areas of data protection, performance, automation, energy savings, ease of management, and scaling. http://www.infinidat.com/about/
But did you know Infinidat is also 1 of a few startup unicorns and was able to reach this status with just 100 users? No, we didn’t forget any commas- 1-0-0.
Infinidat was founded in 2011 by Israeli inventor Moshe Yanai, who is also its CEO. He had two previous data storage startups, both of which were bought by IBM – the last one in 2008. So he has a lot of experience in the data storage world – and he knows what the big guys are up to.
Infinidat’s strategy has been to create super reliable combined data storage hardware and software – claiming 99.9% uptime- which translates to them not being offline for more than 3 seconds per year. It spent a lot of time and money developing its superior product, so Infinidat certainly didn’t want to allow any of its competitors into its market.
By filing so many patents, Infinidat has locked down its market and technology niche. Competitors simply have no room to get in because, with all of those patents, Infinidat has created a patent thicket.
The phrase “patent thicket” is actually used by lawyers and patent attorneys. It refers to a collection of patents that is so massive and covers so much technology, that it is almost impossible for any competitor to get around them. It represents the “holy grail” of patent protection – and Infinidat has achieved it.
Of course, business is growing because Infinidat makes great products with fantastic reliability.
Already a growing proportion of its business is repeat customers. But for the very large customers of Infinidat, like for example Bank of America, buying from them brings peace of mind and stability. If they tried to buy from a competitor with a similar product, they’d have to worry about all of those Infinidat patents.
So what if you want your startup to be like Infinidat? Well for starters, you need to file early and often for patent protection. Infinidat filed for over 100 patents in the past 4 years, covering every aspect of its technology. If a competitor might want to copy some part of its technology, Infinidat has already filed a patent for it.
Also super importantly, Infinidat coordinated its patent, business, and technology strategies. Patents are ultimately a business tool so they are only useful as far as they support your startup’s business goals. Patents should protect the great solution that you bring to your customers, not just some cool technology.
One way to test whether a patent is useful? Can it protect the core, the very thing that makes your startup unique and is it useful, novel and non-obvious? You can find out if it is here. If the answer is yes, then you cannot wait too long. Remember, the more patents that your startup files, the harder it will be for rivals to steal your market. And US law requires that first to file is the ultimate law should you be neck in neck with a competitor.