As a premier patent brokerage firm, we are contacted regularly by companies or intermediaries who want to acquire patent portfolios through us. In most cases, we can obtain a license grant back to the seller, so divesting patents doesn’t need to be limited only to those inventions that you are no longer practicing yourself.
If you own patents that you think are being practiced by someone else, please let us know by completing the intake questionnaire above and sending it to us. We will proceed with a preliminary review and evaluation at no cost or obligation to you to assess the likelihood of your patents selling.
To help with selecting patents that are more likely to attract buyers, knowing the following guidelines is very important and they all contribute to raising the value of a patent portfolio:
The portfolio must contain at least one issued US patent. “Patent pending” rarely sell as your rights are still unknown.
The patent(s) should be practiced by the industry. Patents are negative rights by nature, meaning they only grant the patent holder the right to prevent others from practicing the invention. As a result, they sell primarily for their assertion value and the presence of potential infringement is a key factor. A finding of infringement is primarily a legal matter and each element of a patent claim has to be present in the alleged infringing product or service. It is not a product v. product comparison and the mere fact that a competitor’s product might “look like” yours doesn’t necessarily means that your patent is being infringed. When contacting us, you don’t have to be certain that your patents are bring infringed; but please let us know if you think someone might be practicing your invention.
The shorter the main patent claim(s), the better. Claims are found at the very end of patent and are numbers sequentially (1., 2., 3. Etc.) They form the basis of your monopoly and the few limitations they contain, the broader your protection is. Longer claims usually contain additional limitations that make it easier for others to design around and thus avoid infringing the claim.
The larger the patent family, the better. Single patents are much harder to sell as the rate of invalidation of challenged patents in courts is relatively high (about 50%). A patent family is comprised of patents that are either Continuations, Continuations in Part (CIP) or Divisionals of a parent patent, meaning they all point back to the original patent you filed and simply contain additional claims.
It is preferable to have at least one pending Continuation (or CIP or Divisional) of an US issued patent still active, as this allows to keep the initial application alive and buyers like to continue to obtain new claims tied to the original invention.
The earlier the filing date of the patent, the better. For instance, all other things being equal, a patent filed in 2000 is more likely to be construed broadly and less prone to be invalidated by prior art than a more recent filing.
Foreign counterparts are good, as they allow the buyer to assert the patent(s) in several major markets. This is particularly important when the buyer is an operating company.
Backward and forward citations are usually an attribute of patent quality. The more, the better. Backward citations refer to the prior art cited by the applicant or the examiner during the prosecution of your patent; forward citations refer to other people who have cited your patent in their own filings. You can easily see this information by going to Google Patents and typing in your patent number.
The patents should be in force and all maintenance fees paid for up to and during the sales process. Patents that have been abandoned or are about to expire rarely sell.