What should be a SaaS startup’s IP/patent strategy considering so many stupid patents get issued? We are pre-seed and attorneys say a patent will help in getting funding.



No, in SaaS, a patent application will not help you get funded. This attorney is wrong and selling you something …

99% of SaaS VCs don’t care about patents in general, and even if they do, patent applications are not issued patents. It will take you years for any patent applications to issue. Some of my patents took 5 years to issue from date of application, and each one probably cost $100k+ total on that 5 year journey.

But …

Patents do matter, if you are going long. You will be sued by patent trolls. There will be patent drama. Defensive patents are an annoying but important part of the long game. You need your own chips when folks come after you with their patents.

And the best way to do this is to file the patent applications early. Before the product is in market, before you have competition … before there is a lot of prior art.

In both my start-ups, I made the core set of patent applications a First 90 Days priority. It’s not that expensive to get applications going (although it is expensive to take them all the way to issuance). I did this not to get funded, but because 5+ years out it matters, and if you start late, it’s tough to get more fundamental things patented.

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Published on December 21, 2017

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