Filing a patent in today’s competitive world where information can easily be accessed from anywhere is common sense for startup founders. However, simply filing a patent will not necessarily protect a startup’s valuable intellectual property (IP).

The enforceability and breadth of the claims in each patent are the primary sources of quality. The greater the breadth of the first claim, combined with clear “survivability”, drastically increases the value of the patent by covering more material, which becomes less likely to being invalidated when challenged.

A successful claim:

  1. Covers all forms of the invention independent of how the elements are combined into any composition covered in the first claim.
    • Claims that narrowly describe a simple example of the invention excluding other combinations may allow competitors to practice the invention as embodied in analogs
  2. Is structured such that if the first claim is lost, the subordinate claims survive prosecution, thus providing some protection.
  3. Considers “what-if scenarios” should the first claim be lost in a challenge by the patent examiner or a competitor.

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