Chapter 7: Seminal Patents, and Patent Portfolios

SUMMARY OF Chapter 7:

Two topics are discussed in this chapter.

First, the concepts of “forward non-self citations” and “seminal patents” are explained.

Second, three cases are presented of patents that have hundreds of forward non-self citations. Each case includes lessons about what are good patents, and additional lessons about what are good patent portfolios.


[Extract from a single case study.  Key lessons about patent portfolios learned from a review of Check Point Software Technologies, Ltd.]

7-1-1 (Portfolio). A patent portfolio should be judged according to both the quantity and quality of its patents. [Explanation redacted.]

7-1-2 (Portfolio). How can we know if a company is investing “the right amount” in patents? [Explanation redacted.]

     a. For a standard technology company, one often-heard “rule” is that investment in patents should be 1% of the amount invested in R&D[Explanation redacted.]

     b. Compare your patent portfolio with portfolios of other companies in your field. [Explanation redacted.]

     c. Compare patent costs to the likelihood of litigation, the possibility of losing, and costs either in damages or in being enjoined from selling products.  [Explanation redacted.]

7-1-3 (Portfolio). When the main drivers of value in a patent expire, the company has reached a decision point. [Explanation redacted.]

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