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  • Jose Jimenez

MN Cup 2022 Special Edition, Part 2 – Interesting Idea, but can you keep it?

September 7, 2022

By Jose W. Jimenez, Esq – Former Chief Patent Counsel & Registered Patent Attorney

To all of those MN Cup participants who are driving to be the final winner this September: the more innovative and commercially attractive your product idea is, the more likely outsiders will want to take a piece of the pie…or the whole thing! To be more specific—and as one of the current participants—one of the MN Cup judges looked at our issued patent and asked, “How are you going to stop others from getting around your patent claims and coming up with a design around?”

The judge asked a great question, and most MN Cup participants need to have a good answer to such an important question. The answer can make the difference between being THE winner or just one of the 9 finalists. More importantly, that answer can be what best protects your efforts and your investors.

For one thing, you need to be aware of the challenges that your patented technology can face. Most lay people are unaware of the vulnerabilities of an issued patent let alone the various tools that we have as patent practitioners to address them. Challenges to your patent include but are not limited to:

  1. a good design around that you did not anticipate;

  2. a invalidity challenge or formal patent office proceeding that is preemptively filed on your patent;

  3. an improvement over your patent by a big player; or

  4. a threat by a foreign competitor that can easily neutralize whatever advantage that you did have with your issued patent.

As with your personal health, the health and strength of your patent or pending patent application should be discussed with a patent professional, particularly one having the right technical expertise and prior commercial experience. Understanding the competitive landscape and your commercial goals as well as your financial limitations are important to arrive at a good plan to protect your intellectual property and investment.

So be sure to set aside some of your venture capital dollars for at least an initial patent assessment and a plan to go forward. As we all know, knowing the problem is halfway to the solution.

Reach out to us for a discussion and assessment, the final leg of the competition is just a week away!


If you would like to know more, please contact us on our CONTACT page.

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