From Idea to Solution to Customers and Brand
Updated: May 2
March 28, 2022
By Robert Cantrell - Registered Patent Agent
How can you make your business valuable? One path starts with an idea. From the idea comes a solution. From the solution comes customers, and from customers emerges a recognized brand. As each matures, you gain saleable assets: 1) the idea, 2) the solution, 3) the customers, and 4) the brand.
At the foundation is the idea. An enterprise thrives by using at least one good idea in its products and services. A problem for your enterprise can arise, however, if you lack ownership of your idea and a corresponding right to exclude others from using it. What is to stop a competitor from copying your solution, tapping into your pool of customers, fostering its own brand, and possibly leveraging an established market position to leapfrog your market share? A workshop scenario I often use for training illustrates how Netscape left patentable ideas undefended in the browser wars of old, leaving the door open for Microsoft and Google to move in unhindered. Patents can protect your ideas. Further, a good patent can make your business valuable even if you never proceed with or succeed with the next three steps. Another enterprise may be willing and able to go through those next steps upon accepting a patent license.
As an early step in the progression from idea to valued brand, patents are a tool for shaping relationships with customers, partners, and competitors. This tool encourages customers, partners, and competitors to behave in your best interests. At one level, a patent can limit competition for a time. At another level, a patent can allow you to harness partners from which to build value. In the end, though, you make your business valuable via the probability that you or someone else will complete the progression. The idea can become a solution. The solution can earn customers, and the customers can foster developing a recognized brand. Without at least one good patent, none of this may happen.
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