Skip to Main Content

Patents and Trademarks

Understanding Patents

What are patents and why are they important?

"A patent is the granting of a property right by a sovereign authority to an inventor. This grant provides the inventor exclusive rights to the patented process, design, or invention for a designated period in exchange for a comprehensive disclosure of the invention. They are a form of incorporeal right. Government agencies typically handle and approve applications for patents. " -Investopedia


  • are independent of company tangibles,
  • can be bought, sold, used as collateral,
  • can be used as a source of revenue & defense,
  • are of real and growing interest to investors.

Why are patents an investment for companies?

  • Competitors must buy license(s) to design products based on your patents.
  • If not willing to buy, competitors must “design around” patent.
  • Other competitors who do not buy licenses or design around may risk an infringement suit, an expensive & lengthy process. 

What is a patent citation?

  • Reference to prior technology, upon which current patent is built or uses
  • Some added by inventors, others by examiners
  • Some added to avoid infringement

Why is it worth doing a patent citation analysis?

  • Patents cited by many later patents tend to contain important ideas upon which later inventors are building.
  • A company with a large number of cited patents is likely to possess technology that is central to developments in its industry.
  • Many studies have revealed a link between citations & technical importance of patents
  • Other studies show a connection between patent citations & stock valuations. 

Decoding a Patent Document

Patent Document with Code Descriptions

Patent Front Page Data