Why Are So Many Patents
Being Abandoned?

IP News and Information

Are you looking to acquire patents? Now might be a good time to dive in and make a splash in the IP world. For decades anyone who was able to obtain a patent pretty much did everything he or she could in order to hold onto that patent and fight tooth and nail to keep those rights. Patents have long been valuable assets. However, times have changed and unfortunately many patents just don’t hold the same value that they used to. That has lead to an increasing number of patent holders making the decision to simply let their rights run out. Whereas companies and individuals used to pay whatever it took in order to renew patents for as long as they could, now days it is a lot more common to find patent holders walking away.

Significant Increase

In fact, according to recent research by Ocean Tomo and IAM, the number of patents that were allowed to expire in Europe and the United States jumped by about 33 percent in the 10 years from 2004 to 2014. Almost 124,000 patents were allowed to expire before their termination date. What has lead to this significant change? There are several factors and one of the chief causes is of course money. Money is always a factor in every business decision. According to the research, for many businesses patent rights are simply a numbers game. The idea of holding onto patents that no longer serve a company’s core strategies and plans has become too expensive.

More New Patents

The other factor that is playing a big part in this trend is simply a numbers game. While the number of patents being allowed to expire has increased substantially, the number of applications for new patents has also gone up significantly. In the last 10 years the number of patent filings has nearly doubled, increasing by 47 percent. Meantime in Europe, patent applications have jumped by 39 percent over that same period of time. The fact that companies are applying and receiving so many new patents, combined with the fact that they often have a limited amount of resources set aside for maintaining patents, they are forced to make a choice: keep their existing patents current or file for new ones.

Changing Patent Landscape

Another factor in all this is the actual value of the patents being allowed to expire. Due to so many recent, unfavorable court decisions, many patents, especially in the software industry, are losing their value. That means it no longer makes financial sense to hold onto these types of patents. In that case, cutting the cord is often the best move.

Consider Selling or Licensing

There is another option if you have patents that you no longer want to continue to maintain. If your patent could still have some value to another company or individual then you should seriously consider selling or licensing it to another company. That way you get the benefit of new revenue that you weren’t expecting and in the case of selling it outright you get the benefit of no longer having the renewal dues on your books. If you have patents that you’re ready to offload then you should speak with IPTrader to learn how. Just call us at 360-772-9035.