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Creating Your 2024 Patent Strategy

A patent strategy is important for every tech company that invents new products or services. For example, a well-designed patent strategy cancreate a valuable patent portfolio that protects your R&D activities. Your patent portfolio can provide a competitive advantage, attract investors, and increase company valuation.

Are you ready to plan your patent strategy for 2024?

As I discuss in my book, Cracking the Patent Code, including a few simple activities in your patent strategy can produce valuable results when implemented consistently over the course of the year.

Here are seven activities to help you create a 2024 patent strategy for your organization. You don’t need to include all seven activities in your patent strategy. Consider selecting the two or three activities that are most important to your company for the coming year.

  1. Review Your Current Patent Portfolio – What inventions have you already protected? Are there any “holes” in your patent portfolio?Be sure you have protected all of your critical product features that provide a competitive edge.
  2. Identify Upcoming Patent Filing Deadlines – Look for any inventions that have been disclosed publicly or inventions contained in a product released within the last 12 months. Consider an Invention Triage™ session to identify these important deadlines.
  3. Train Your Team to Identify All Inventions – Schedule training workshops for all team members and new hires regarding how to identify inventions. Also, explain the importance of inventions to the company and highlight your invention reward program.
  4. Schedule Invention Mining Sessions for Projects Approaching Completion – An Invention Mining Session is valuable to be sure you have identified every invention in a project before it is released to the public. Then you can decide which inventions are worthy of patent protection.
  5. Review (or Create) Your Invention Evaluation Process – Do you have an invention evaluation process to review all inventions submitted by your team? If not, creating an Invention Evaluation committee is an important goal for 2024. If you already have a process to evaluate inventions, be sure you have a detailed list of evaluation factors that help prioritize the most valuable inventions to your organization.
  6. Consider an Invention Contest – If you want to create an innovation boost throughout your team, try an invention contest. This type of contest is fun, stimulates creative thinking, and helps build a culture of innovative thinking.
  7. Map Out Your Patent Strategy for 2024 – What are your top goals and activities to grow your patent portfolio in 2024? Map out those goals and activities by defining steps for each quarter of the year. Then, at the end of 2024, you will enjoy a powerful patent portfolio that provides a competitive advantage, attracts investors, and increases company valuation.

For more than 25 years, my team and I have worked with the world’s leading technology companies to build high-value patent portfolios. If you want to discuss your patent strategy for 2024, I’m happy to help you map out a plan. Contact me to schedule a complimentary call.

Email me at:

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Your Tech Company Needs a Patent Strategist, not Just a Patent Attorney

I started working with a new client several years ago to help them build a valuable patent portfolio. They already had a few patents, but the patents were of little value. Although the patents were well-written, they did not protect inventions that were actually valuable to the company.

When preparing those patent applications, the company made a classic mistake.

They hired a patent attorney to write good patent applications for the wrong inventions. Instead of identifying all of the company’s inventions and prioritizing the most valuable inventions, the company randomly selected a few inventions for the patent attorney to protect. This is a huge mistake and a big waste of money because the most valuable inventions are often missed, so they are never protected as a business asset.

Unfortunately, I see this situation far too often. Companies send inventions to a patent attorney to prepare patent applications without first identifying and evaluating every invention created by their team.

There is a better approach.

You probably understand the importance of using patents to protect your critical inventions. But you need more than just a patent attorney to be sure you properly protect your most valuable inventions.

Although a patent attorney is important to your business, you also need a patent strategist.

Based on my experience working with hundreds of technology companies (both as a patent strategist and as a patent attorney), I know first hand how critically important it is to have a patent strategist who understands how to work with your team to identify, prioritize, and protect your best inventions.

As noted in the case above, if you rely exclusively on a patent attorney, you may miss out on protecting critical inventions because the identification and prioritization steps are often ignored. If you jump to preparing a patent application without being sure you identified and prioritized every invention, you may be wasting time and money protecting the wrong inventions.

Those low-value patents for the wrong inventions provide a false sense of security because you think your key inventions are protected. But, if you don’t protect the best inventions, your products may not have the patent protection you expect. For example, if you don’t patent your critical inventions, any competitor can use those inventions for free.

What is a Patent Strategist?

An experienced patent strategist works with teams in tech companies to identify, prioritize, and protect (with patents) the company’s highest value inventions. A patent strategist also helps design patent portfolios with high quality patents that are tailored to the company’s goals.

A patent strategist follows a successful process, such as:

  1. Identifying all inventions created by the company’s team. This is critical because you can’t prioritize or protect inventions that aren’t identified in the first place. Many inventions are hidden in the minds of team members and it takes training and discussion to extract those inventions. It’s also important to train team members how to identify inventions as part of their daily work activities so nothing slips through the cracks.
  2. Evaluating and prioritizing inventions. After identifying all inventions, the process uses evaluation criteria that’s unique to the company’s goals and objectives to evaluate and prioritize the inventions. The criteria is applied all inventions to identify the highest priority inventions to consider for patent protection.
  3. Prepare patent applications for the highest priority inventions. The top priority inventions are sent to a patent attorney who is skilled at preparing high quality patent applications. The patent attorney writes the patent applications and manages the applications through the patent examination process to obtain patents that become valuable business assets as part of the company’s patent portfolio.

The patent strategist monitors the growth of the patent portfolio to ensure that it is providing maximum value to the company and supporting the company’s goals. The objectives of the patent portfolio may change over time as the company’s goals and priorities change.

Why are Patents Important to Tech Companies?

A U.S. patent gives the owner the right to exclude others from making, using, offering for sale, or selling the patented invention or importing it into the U.S. (35 U.S.C. 271)

When you work with a patent strategist, you will protect the most important inventions that give you:

  1. Competitive Advantage – Stop competitors from copying your critical products or product features.
  2. Attract Investors – They want to see your proprietary technology protected, so their investment is protected.
  3. Retain/Attract Key Employees – People want to work in an innovative culture that celebrates and rewards their inventions.
  4. Peace of Mind – When creating new products, you can take comfort in knowing that your patents can prevent companies from launching new products that copy your protected technology.
  5. Increase Company Valuation – Patents are business assets that can significantly increase the valuation of your company.

These are important benefits that protect your company’s R&D investment of time and money while also strengthening your team and competitive edge.

Patent Strategy Success Study

To further illustrate the importance of a patent strategist, here’s another experience I had several years ago.

I started working with a technology client when it was still in stealth mode. They were creating new technology that was changing computer systems throughout the world.

We started creating the company’s patent strategy while the company was in stealth mode. Initially, I worked with their team to identify critical inventions in the first product. We prioritized the initial inventions that were likely to provide the greatest ROI to the company and aligned with the company’s goals. Patent applications were prepared for the top five inventions based on the prioritization.

These patent applications were filed before the company came out of stealth mode to protect their core technology and preserve international patent rights.

After the company publicly announced it’s new product, the initial product continued to expand and provide additional features. As the product grew, we continued to identify and evaluate new inventions. Additional patent applications were filed to protect the most important inventions related to the new product features.

As the company’s team grew, we continued to train new team members how to identify and evaluate inventions. We also implemented invention mining sessions, invention contests, and other activities to be sure every invention was identified throughout the company.

An invention evaluation committee was formed and defined 11 invention evaluation factors to consider when evaluating new inventions.These evaluation factors were based on the company’s goals, growth plans, exit strategy, and other criteria. The invention evaluation committee met regularly to evaluate new inventions using the company’s evaluation factors.

Over time, the company continued to expand their products and create new inventions. The new inventions were identified and evaluated to select the most valuable inventions for patent protection.

By the time the company was approaching an IPO (Initial Public Offering), their patent portfolio had grown to over 40 patent assets. The IPO was successful with a valuation greater than $2B.

What to Look for in a Patent Strategist

Now that you know the importance of a patent strategist to your tech company, how do you find the right person to help your team identify the most valuable inventions that create a strong patent portfolio? Here’s what to look for:

  • Experience with training teams to identify every invention created.
  • Knowledge and understanding of your company’s technology.
  • Understands how to help companies set up and implement invention evaluation committees.
  • Experienced at designing valuable patent portfolios that align with company goals, protect company growth, and support significant company valuation for IPOs, acquisitions, and other events.
  • Knowledgeable about working with patent attorneys to prepare high quality patent applications.

Does your business want to ensure that every invention is identified and evaluated so you build a patent portfolio of high value assets that align with your company goals?

If yes, I would be happy to talk with you.

Let’s schedule a call at:

New Lawsuit Provides Important Reminder to Protect your Critical Space Tech Innovations

Based on a recent lawsuit, Wilson Aerospace alleges that Boeing stole their space tech intellectual property. The lawsuit alleges that Wilson Aerospace may have lost hundreds of millions of dollars as a result of the stolen IP.

This lawsuit is an important reminder for all space tech companies to ensure that their critical inventions are protected before engaging with any company (especially large corporations) that may try to steal their proprietary technology.

In my 25 years of experience, I’ve seen this happen far too often. When companies delay the protection of their inventions and other intellectual property, it may be too late to fix that mistake when a competitor copies or steals their unique innovations.

Did you know that if you wait too long, you may actually lose the opportunity to protect your intellectual property? In many instances, there are patent filing deadlines that can prevent you from protecting your critical inventions. If you let this happen, that means your competitors can actually use those inventions for free in their own products.

In other words, you essentially donated your R&D time and expenses to your competitors!

Let this latest lawsuit encourage you to take action today and protect your most valuable inventions. This is a modest investment that can make your company significantly stronger and more valuable in the future.

Every tech company is busy these days. Protecting your intellectual property is often an afterthought or something you’re putting off until “tomorrow.”

Don’t do this.

Protecting your inventions will provide a competitive advantage, attract investors, and increase your company valuation. Showing your team the importance of their innovative ideas (by protecting them) can also stimulate more innovative thinking and even better products.

Do you have questions about how to identify and protect your most valuable inventions? If so, I can help.

I’m offering complimentary 20-minute strategy calls to help you determine what you need to be aware of regarding your company’s inventions or patents. I will answer any questions and provide suggestions for identifying and protecting inventions created by your team.

Schedule a Free strategy call with me at:

Note: I don’t have any information about this case other than what’s in the public lawsuit filing. I’m not affiliated with either company involved in the lawsuit.

See a full news report regarding the litigation at CNBC:

Don’t Let a Corporate Bully Destroy your Tech Startup

Robert and I had been working on a new project for barely a month when I received a frantic phone call from him.

“We’ve been sued for patent infringement by Acme!”

Acme was a large corporation with very deep pockets. This was Robert’s worst nightmare — a potentially deadly lawsuit right after starting his new job with the company.

Note: The company names and product names have been changed to protect the actual parties involved in the litigation.

I started working with Robert’s company (Awesome Corporation) a month before that phone call. Awesome was growing quickly and getting rave reviews of its new line of flux capacitors. Many satisfied customers were enjoying excellent results using the capacitors.

Awesome had a great team of creative people who were regularly developing innovative ideas that created a “buzz” in the industry. These ideas set the Awesome’s flux capacitors apart from the competitors and saved its customers time and money.

Based on the company’s growth trajectory, they were expanding and capturing more market share each quarter. Their innovative capacitors offered features that the older, well-established competitors did not offer. Things were going great.

Identifying, Developing, and Protecting Inventions

Robert was the VP of Product Development. He contacted me to help build a patent portfolio and develop a system for identifying, developing, and protecting the company’s most valuable inventions.

A patent portfolio is a collection of patents. These business assets are intangible, but provide significant value and protection to the owner. A well-crafted patent portfolio can protect a company’s core technologies and key product features, which provides a barrier to competitors who want to copy those technologies or features.

Robert’s Nightmare

Robert’s voice was trembling when he called me.

But the nightmare was even worse because Awesome had no patents. That meant they had virtually no intellectual property and no negotiating power to try to settle the lawsuit by cross-licensing patent assets. Acme likely targeted them because of their lack of patents.

Awesome had recently gone public with a successful Initial Public Offering. Robert was terrified…

“How are we going to explain this huge liability to all of the shareholders?”

It didn’t take long for Awesome to start receiving calls from its customers, “What’s this lawsuit about. Acme called us and said we may have to stop using the flux capacitors we purchased because they infringe Acme’s patents.”

“What are you doing to fix this?”

Robert also had to handle questions from the sales team and prospective customers who were justifiably concerned about buying Awesome’s capacitors with the dark cloud hanging over the company. With the pending lawsuit, it was next to impossible to sell capacitors.

“Call us after the litigation is settled,” was the usual response to sales inquiries.

Surviving the Litigation

In an effort to save the company, its leaders hired a litigation firm and got to work preparing a strategy to deal with the lawsuit. Awesome’s leaders set aside most other projects so they could focus on this critical problem.

To create bargaining power with Acme, Awesome spent several million dollars to acquire some existing patents in an effort to negotiate a settlement. Since Awesome had not been protecting their inventions and did not have an existing patent portfolio, they were starting from scratch.

Fortunately, the acquired patents helped with the settlement negotiations. Eventually, the lawsuit was settled — which cost several million dollars on top of the cost to acquire the patents. And, some significant legal fees on top of everything else.

In addition to these tangible costs, many of the company’s activities came to a screeching halt until the litigation was resolved. These immeasurable costs had a huge impact on Awesome’s financial situation.

Robert, and Awesome, survived the litigation. But it took years to recover financially and to regain their customers’ (and potential customers’) trust.

Finally, millions of dollars later, building an patent strategy became a top priority.

Believe it or not, Awesome was Lucky!

This type of lawsuit would have destroyed many smaller companies. If Awesome didn’t have the financial ability to fight the lawsuit, it would have been like a big bad wolf devouring three little pigs living in a worn-out tent.

Patent litigation is complex and costly. If you don’t have funds available for a patent litigation attorney, you can’t even fight back.

Before filing a lawsuit, the big bad wolf does its due diligence to find the weakest victim. “Find me some little company with no patents and minimal cash. We will make an example of them.” After the wolf wipes out the first victim, it has set a precedent and can coerce other victims to give up or pay a hefty licensing fee to settle the litigation.

Sadly, this situation was avoidable — or at least could have had a much smaller impact on Awesome.

How to Build A Strong Patent Portfolio

If Awesome had taken action a few years earlier, for a small fraction of the millions they paid, they could have developed a valuable patent portfolio that might have caused Acme to target someone else. Awesome could have upgraded from a tent to a brick house.

With a strong patent portfolio, even if Awesome was sued, the company would have been in a much stronger position to negotiate a better settlement and reduce the disruption to the company’s operations and customer relationships.

In the past 25 years, I have worked with many companies who were negligent in taking steps to protect the inventions that set their products apart from the competitors. These companies believed that they were a group of good, creative people and they deserved to be successful.

“We are constantly creating new ideas, so we don’t need to worry about protecting our inventions.” Wrong.

It could happen to you too.

You have worked hard to assemble a team of talented people who create great products and give your company an advantage in the marketplace. If you fail to protect your key product features, and ignore building a valuable patent portfolio, it’s going to come back to bite you.

Action Steps: Take the important steps today to identify all of the inventions contained in your company’s products. Then, take action to protect your most valuable inventions.

Need Help with your Patent Strategy?

If you don’t have a Patent Strategy, or you want to expand your existing strategy, I can help.

Apply for a complimentary InventLock™ Strategy Call today. During this session, we will review your current Patent Strategy, explore your business goals and challenges, and create a plan for where to go next.

Apply for your free InventLock™ Strategy call at:

How Well-Designed Patent Portfolios Protect Your R&D Investment

Your R&D (Research & Development) team invests significant time, money, and effort creating new systems. These systems often contain valuable inventions that provide a competitive advantage, attract investors, and increase company valuation.

Your entire R&D investment is wasted if you don’t have a strategy to build a patent portfolio that protects your critical inventions.

Patents protect the inventions produced by your R&D activities. A well-designed patent portfolio is a carefully chosen collection of patent assets that support your business goals and objectives.

Failing to protect your most valuable inventions with a patent portfolio means that your R&D team is working for your competitors. Without patent protection for your critical inventions, your competitors are free to use your inventions to compete against you without having to invest any time, money, or resources.

Don’t let this happen to your tech company.

Over the past 25 years working with hundreds of technology companies, we have developed a strategy for designing patent portfolios that protect your R&D investment. Our strategy:

  • identifies every invention created by your team (even the ones hidden in the minds of your team)
  • evaluates the inventions to prioritize the ones with the highest value to your company
  • protects your critical inventions that produce a high-value patent portfolio

When you implement this strategy, your company will build a patent portfolio that provides a competitive advantage, attracts investors, and increases company valuation. This protects your inventions and lets you decide whether to allow others to use those inventions.

Here’s a summary of the 3-step strategy that has created dozens of high-value patent portfolios.


The first step in building a valuable patent portfolio is to identify all of your company’s inventions. You can’t take steps to protect or evaluate your inventions if you don’t identify them in the first place.

Improve your company’s chances for success by encouraging innovative ideas and creating a steady flow of new inventions from your team. You can do this by training your team members how to identify inventions. Some techniques for identifying inventions include invention mining, invention contests, and fun brainstorming sessions.

It’s also important to provide a simple system for your team members to submit their inventions. Company leaders are often surprised by the gold nuggets of innovation hidden within the minds of their team members. You need a system to identify these valuable innovations.

In one example, our client in the communication industry had a large team of developers and engineers. But the company only had one patent after being in business for five years. Using our system, we quickly identified 11 inventions that their team members had created but didn’t realize they were inventions. By implementing several invention mining activities and brainstorming sessions, we identified another six inventions that had not been identified.

After evaluating those 17 inventions using the process discussed below, the company filed five patent applications to protect the most valuable inventions. This was the start of building a valuable patent portfolio that protects their R&D investment.


To create a high-value patent portfolio, it’s important to properly evaluate and prioritize all of the inventions identified by your team. I’ve seen too many companies ignore this crucial step and end up spending time and money preparing patent applications for mediocre inventions. The strength and quality of your patent portfolio depends on a thorough evaluation of all inventions.

The first step in evaluating your team’s inventions is creating an invention evaluation committee that includes people who perform different roles in the company. People with a diversity of roles will have unique perspectives regarding the potential value of an invention, the cost to develop and produce the invention, and whether the invention is consistent with the company’s goals.

When we help companies create an invention evaluation committee, we typically include people from the following groups: executive, engineering/technical, sales, marketing, and customer service.

After creating the invention evaluation committee, the company defines invention evaluation criteria that is consistent with the company’s goals, growth plans, and other factors. Example invention evaluation criteria may include:

  • feasibility of the invention
  • must-have feature
  • company goals (long-term and short-term)
  • company’s exit strategy
  • potential patentability problems
  • lifetime value of invention to company
  • defensive value (protect against litigation)
  • potential licensing value

The evaluation criteria is applied to each invention to prioritize the inventions that have the highest value to the company. By carefully evaluating your inventions with respect to your company goals and objectives, you are designing a valuable patent portfolio that protects your critical assets.

When working with one of our clients that designs and builds data storage systems, their goal was to build a valuable portfolio of patent assets to support their planned initial public offering (IPO). The client was going to be competing with some large, well-established companies in their industry. For this client, the evaluation process focused on inventions that provided a competitive advantage as well as inventions that could be asserted against competitors, if necessary.

The client designed and built a patent portfolio that included 42 assets at the time of filing for their IPO. This portfolio supported a very successful IPO for the company because they had strategically designed a high-value patent portfolio that gave them a powerful position in their industry.


To protect your R&D investment, you must build a patent portfolio that includes your most valuable inventions. Protecting the wrong inventions is a waste of time and money. Patents covering the wrong inventions are dangerous because they give you a false sense of security. For example, a patent portfolio with a large number of patents may seem valuable, but if those patents have minimal value, they are not likely to provide the protection and value you anticipate.

As you build your patent portfolio, it’s important to include inventions that cover four key categories:

  • core technology
  • critical must-have product features
  • future inventions
  • defensive inventions

Patents covering these four categories will collectively provide a barrier to entry for competitors and broadly protect your R&D investment.

These four categories are important because protecting core technology and must-have product features provide a competitive advantage by preventing others from using those inventions in competing products. You can significantly increase the value of your patent portfolio by protecting future inventions, such as inventions that will be essential in the future systems. Your team can develop these future inventions by looking at current industry trends and creating solutions to problems that will likely result from those trends.

Defensive inventions can be valuable by protecting against aggressive competitors. Patents covering defensive inventions reduce the likelihood of litigation and provide a cross-licensing opportunity if litigation occurs.

You have worked hard to assemble a team of talented people who create innovative products and give your company an advantage in the marketplace. Protect that investment in your team by protecting your core technology, critical must-have features, future inventions, and defensive inventions.

Protecting Large R&D Investments

Here are two examples of clients we worked with to protect large R&D investments by adding significant assets to their patent portfolio.

In one example, an automotive manufacturer wanted to expand into a new area related to autonomous vehicles. They were aware of several significant competitors and they were hiring a team of developers and scientists with advanced degrees. To protect their substantial R&D expense and defend against competitors, this client knew a well-designed patent portfolio was critical.

We assisted the client in cultivating inventions developed throughout their team, evaluating those inventions, and protecting the inventions with the highest value to the company. Over the course of several years, we expanded the size of their patent portfolio by more than 300 patent assets (issued patents and pending patent applications).

In another example, a client that makes inventory management systems was launching into a new online market. The new market included a large, well-established competitor. This client understood the importance of a strong patent portfolio to protect their competitive advantage and fend off the well-established competitor.

We worked with the client to protect all of their important inventions that secured their proprietary technology and must-have features that the competitor might want to copy. That client increased their patent portfolio by more than 500 patent assets, which provided strong protection against the competitor. Those patent assets protected the R&D investment in the new online systems and significantly increased the valuation of the company.


In many countries, it takes 2-3 years from filing a patent application to issuance of the patent. You can’t build a patent portfolio overnight unless you purchase patents that have already issued.

So, you need to get started designing your patent portfolio today.

My team and I have helped many companies implement the 3-step system described in this article. Those companies have valuable and expanding patent portfolios.

This system will work for your company too.

If you have an R&D department, I encourage you to schedule a free strategy call with me as soon as possible. During our strategy call, we will discuss your current situation and identify your most important next steps to protect your R&D investment.

Schedule your free strategy call at:

Contact Steve with questions at:

Space Tech Update – January 2023

I attended the AIAA SciTech Forum held on Jan. 23-27, 2023. AIAA is the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics.

The event featured speakers and panelists from a variety of space technology companies, organizations, and institutions. I attended many of the presentations and listened to panelists with a wide variety of backgrounds and expertise.

Here are my key insights and takeaways from this event.

Common Themes from Several Presentations

1. New design and development tools are accelerating product development in the space industry. These tools are handling more of the design tasks so humans have more time for creative thinking and innovation.

2. Artificial intelligence is helping with many tasks and will gradually become more integrated into space tech systems.

3. There’s a large variety of business opportunities fueled by public and private investments and new technology being developed by an increasing number of companies.


Which is your favorite idea?

I attended the Idea Challenge: Applying Aerospace Technologies to Solve Societal Problems presentation at the AIAA SciTech Forum today (Monday).

The event included presentations by three teams of young professionals – each team presenting their idea. Here are the three ideas:

1. Food Secured – Using satellite data and historical weather data to provide farming suggestions to increase crop yield and reduce water usage. Initial application in India due to the large population and significant need to improve food production.

2. Kidddney – Combining 3D Bioprinting with Microgravity to produce 3D printed kidneys for human transplant. The 3D printed kidney is expected to be created in one week, as compared to the current average wait for a kidney of 3.5 years.

3. CIA – A data sharing platform for underdeveloped countries. Connects people in rural areas with critical information, such as safety announcements, weather warnings, and availability of community services. Uses satellite data, cellular networks, and drones to share data throughout a country, such as the Philippines.

All three ideas are fantastic. Congratulations to all team members for working to solve important problems.


I attended five presentations at the AIAA SciTech Forum on Tuesday. Here are my key insights and take-aways.

1. Advancing Space Propulsion Technologies – NASA and DARPA will be collaborating on developing a Nuclear Thermal Propulsion system. They plan to test a new system by 2027.

The new propulsion system is expected to be significantly more efficient than chemical propulsion systems and provide faster travel to deep space and to Mars.

The program is named Demonstration Rocket for Agile Cislunar Operations (DRACO) and will demonstrate a nuclear thermal rocket (NTR) in orbit.

Stefanie Tompkins and Pamela Melroy discussed the details of the DRACO program.

2. Public Investors in the Future of Aerospace – This panel discussed various funding sources from NASA, AFWERX, SpaceWERX, and other organizations.

For example, NASA offers the Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) and Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) programs. SpaceWERX offers financial awards through the Orbital Prime program.

The panelists were Sha-Chelle Manning, DyanGibbens, Byron Knight, and Gynelle Steele.

3. Space 2050 – Nelson Pedreiro (Lockheed Martin Space) shared his vision of space in 2050, only 27 years from now.

His vision includes current activities and projects by Lockheed Martin. Nelson expects that highly automated design tools will shorten the design and development time required to develop new space technology and systems. This will allow new space technology to be developed more quickly.

One part of the vision for 2050 is the existence of a power and communication infrastructure. This will simplify the design of new space vehicles and space systems because they can access the power and communication infrastructure rather than having to design their own power and communication systems.

4. Private Investors in the Future of Aerospace – This panel provided many helpful tips to help space tech startups successfully obtain funding. Several panelists encouraged startups to fail fast and ask lots of questions so they continue to learn and grow. The panel members discussed different stages of funding and what to expect at each stage.

Startup leaders were encouraged to conduct their own due diligence when evaluating a potential investor in their company, such as whether the investor is a good fit with your company an if they can support the growth of your business.

The panel members shared that investors are looking for startup leaders with “grit” and persistence. They also stressed the importance of having a strong team with relevant business growth experience.

The panelists were Hailey Nichols, Sherman Williams, MislavTolusic, and Nicole Conner.

5. Innovation for Impact – Curt Carlson shared an approach to Innovation that focuses on a customer value proposition. He explained that addressing an important unmet customer need is critical to creating a new product or service. He discussed examples of companies that failed because they were not solving an important unmet need.

Curt also discussed an approach to pitching your idea that uses a hook to grab the listeners attention, then discusses the value proposition and the action you want the listener to take. It was interesting to watch several live pitches with feedback to the people presenting the pitches.


Did you know that satellite data is being used to fight wildfires, monitor climate changes, improve crop yields, and more?

On Wednesday, I attended the AIAA SciTech Forum Monitoring Planet Earth presentation. The panelists discussed how data is being collected by satellites, aircraft, and unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs). The collected data includes weather patterns, wildfire images, thermal information, and more.

This data is being used by companies and government agencies to help fight wildfires, understand how the earth’s climate is changing, and suggest farming activities (based on soil moisture levels, crop rotation, etc.) to improve crop yield. Machine learning systems can process this data to discover trends and make predictions that may identify the likely movement of a wildfire, predict climate changes in specific areas, and suggest farming activities.

The panelists were Al Tadros, Cathy Olkin, Rob Stevens, Barry Tilton, Marcus Johnson, Julie Robinson, and John Choi.


I attended several presentations at the AIAA SciTech Forum on Thursday. Here are my key insights and take-aways.

1. Accelerating Digital Technology to Transform the Aerospace Industry – Guillermo Jenaro (Acubed – Airbus Innovation Center) shared his thoughts on digital tools that reduce product lead time and reduce cost. His team is also working on autonomous flight systems and machine learning solutions for the next generation of aircraft.

He predicts that the next big disruptors are:

  • Artificial Intelligence advancements
  • Quantum computing
  • Virtual Reality/Augmented Reality

2. Addressing Increasing Complexity in Aerospace Systems – This panel discussed new types of modeling and simulation tools that assist with complex designs.

NASA’s key areas of digital transformation are: engineering, discovery, operations, and decision making. An important area for Boeing is applying digital solutions to legacy platforms.
Several panel members mentioned that digital tools are being used to help get answers to design/development questions fast. The panel also stressed the importance of lifelong learning because technology and tools are moving very fast.

The panelists were Michael Grieves, Sophia Bright, Jill Marlowe, Ryan Tintner, and Karen Willcox

3. Transformative Systems Engineering Success Stories – This panel discussedexamples of new products that were designed digitally using the latest digital design and development tools.

Digital twins are used to accelerate the design system and test new ideas quickly.

An example of successfully using digital tools discussed managing wiring harness design in complex space systems. The tools helped manage wiring harness placement throughout the design process.

The panelists were Marilee Wheaton, Jason Bartolomei, Don Farr, Olivia Pinon Fischer, and Corbett Hoenninger.

4. Humans and Autonomy – This panel discussed the need for both real-world testing and simulated testing of autonomous vehicles. Several panelists expressed their views that fully autonomous vehicles are several decades away.

The panel also discussed the importance of having humans quickly take control when unusual or high-risk situations occur. They also discussed the importance of keeping humans actively operating the vehicles so they don’t lose their skills.

The panelists were John Tylko, Kailah Cabral, Mary Cummings, Amy Pritchett

The AIAA SciTech Forum was a valuable event that shared exciting visions for the space industry and provided information about the latest advancements in space technology. I enjoyed the event and look forward to attending again next year.

4 Free Resources for Growing your Tech Company in 2023

As we begin a new year, I’m looking forward to helping tech companies grow and thrive in 2023. I’ve been helping tech companies for more than 20 years and I’m excited to continue those activities for many more years.

Although I work with technology clients 1-on-1, I’m also offering several Free resources to share my knowledge and experience with all tech companies:

1. InventLock™ Protection Guide for Tech Startups – This is a white paper that summarizes my 3-step system to identify, evaluate, and protect your company’s most valuable inventions. You can download the Free white paper at

2. Cracking the Patent Code – This is my first book that clarifies the patent application process and provides details about how to identify, evaluate, and protect your critical inventions to build a valuable patent portfolio. The book is written in plain English for tech leaders, inventors, investors, and anyone who is interested in protecting their key inventions. Download a Free PDF copy of the book at

3. Tech Leader Talk podcast – I interview successful technology company leaders, entrepreneurs, and experts from around the technology industry to share successes, challenges, and examples of what’s working now to build strong tech companies. The podcast has more than 80 episodes and is available on all major podcast apps, just search on “Tech Leader Talk” and look for the blue logo. Here’s the Apple Podcasts link:

4. InventLock™ Strategy Call – This is a complimentary 20 minute call with me to see if there’s anything you need to be aware of regarding your company’s patents or inventions. I will answer your questions about the patent process, such as when to consider patent protection, how to build a valuable portfolio of patents, and the 12-month patent filing deadline. Click this link to schedule your InventLock™ Strategy Call:

If you have any questions about growing your tech company in 2023, please email me at: Steve (at) SteveSponseller (dot) com. I personally respond to all questions. If I can’t answer your question, I will put you in touch with one of my connections who can help.

Are Your Space Tech Inventions Protected?

Patents that protect important inventions are valuable to space technology companies that depend on those inventions to stand out in their industry. In many situations, a portfolio of patents is a tech company’s most valuable asset.

A well-designed patent portfolio can provide a competitive advantage, increase company valuation, attract investors, and attract and retain key employees.

You can build a valuable patent portfolio by strategically patenting high-value inventions that protect critical product features and provide significant value to the company. Too many companies randomly patent mediocre inventions. This approach can be a waste of time and money.

Instead, space tech companies need to identify and prioritize all of their inventions, then select the most valuable inventions for protection with their patent budget. Building a patent portfolio isn’t a “numbers game.” The goal is a portfolio of high-quality, high-value patents that are significant assets for the company.

To build a strong patent portfolio, here is a 3-step system that’s worked for hundreds of clients over the past 25 years.

1. Identify Every Invention in your Organization

Before you run off and start filing patent applications, there are two steps you need to complete first: identifying and prioritizing your inventions.

Identifying every invention in your company includes looking at your existing products and current development activities. For example, many space tech companies will perform invention mining activities to identify all inventions in a particular product.

It’s also important to get your entire team involved in the invention process. Great ideas can come from any team member, not just the engineering/development department. Teach everyone in your organization how to identify inventions and encourage them to submit their innovative ideas.

You can also take steps to make inventing fun, such as invention contests and entertaining off-site brainstorming activities.

To make sure your team’s inventions don’t slip through the cracks, create a system for submitting and tracking inventions. The invention submission process should be fast and painless so employees aren’t discouraged from submitting their inventions.

I’ve seen too many companies with long invention disclosure forms that stop people from submitting their ideas. Keep it short and simple so you’re certain to capture every invention.

2. Prioritize your Inventions

Now that you have identified every invention in your organization, it’s important to evaluate and prioritize those inventions.

The value of your patent portfolio depends on a careful evaluation of all inventions.

I have helped many clients evaluate their inventions by first creating a group of team members who will be the evaluators. This group should represent multiple departments and roles in the organization, such as engineering, product development, marketing, sales, and executives. These different team members have different perspectives regarding the value of an invention, the development costs, and whether the invention is in alignment with the company’s goals.

The group of invention evaluators will regularly review the submitted inventions based on specific criteria. This criteria is aligned with the company’s goals and may include the lifetime value of the invention, potential patentability issues, and the defensive value of the invention.

Each invention is scored based on the criteria. The inventions are then ranked based on their score. The highest ranked inventions are prioritized for preparing patent applications, which can become issued patents that expand the company’s patent portfolio.

3. Protect the Best Inventions

The list of prioritized inventions are excellent candidates for protection via a patent application. The evaluation and prioritization process discussed above should filter out mediocre inventions that don’t provide significant value to your company.

A strong patent portfolio has a collection of patents covering inventions in multiple categories. For example, patents covering your core technology, critical must-have product features, future inventions, and defensive inventions provide well-rounded protection for your company. This protection can reduce the risk of litigation, provide a barrier to entry for competitors, secure your competitive advantage, and increase company valuation.

Your team has invested time, money, and expertise to create innovative products that differentiate your company in the marketplace. Secure that investment by protecting your best and most valuable inventions to create or expand your portfolio of patents.

You can start implementing the 3-step system discussed in this article today. Start by identifying and evaluating every invention in your company. Then, protect the most valuable inventions that add significant value to your patent portfolio. This 3-step system has worked for hundreds of companies and provides a path for you to begin creating your own high-value patent portfolio that strengthens your business.

Do you have questions about how to identify and protect your most valuable inventions? I can help.

I’m offering complimentary 20 minute strategy calls to help you determine what you need to be aware of regarding your company’s inventions or patents. I will answer any questions and provide suggestions for identifying and protecting inventions created by your team.

Schedule a complimentary strategy call with me at:


Invention Protection Resources for 2022

The beginning of a new year is a great time to review your systems for identifying and protecting the inventions created in your organization.

Here are three invention protection resources that can help you jumpstart your invention activities in 2022.

  1. Cracking the Patent Code – My book that explains a 3-step system to identify, evaluate, and protect your most valuable inventions. This is the system I’ve developed over the past 20 years and it’s the same system I use with all of my clients.  You can purchase the book in print or Kindle format on Amazon.  Or, you can download a free PDF version of the book at
  2. Invention Triage™ Workshop – I will be offering an online workshop for Tech Startups on January 25, 2022. This workshop will focus on my Invention Triage™ process that identifies patent filing deadlines for inventions developed in your organization and teaches you systems for avoiding “accidental” forfeiting of your patent rights. The workshop will help you “Rescue” inventions that would otherwise be lost due to a 12-month patent filing deadline.  Keep watch for the registration link and more details coming soon.
  3. Invention Assessment – This is an assessment of your company’s systems for identifying and protecting your most valuable inventions. The assessment includes:

Step 1: Evaluate your current systems for identifying inventions

Step 2: Evaluate your current systems for collecting and evaluating inventions

Step 3: Invention Triage™ process (mentioned above)

Step 4: Identify changes to improve identification and disclosure of new inventions

Step 5: Develop a company-specific plan for the next 12-18 months

If you want help with an Invention Assessment or have any other questions about identifying and protecting your inventions, contact me to schedule a Free Introductory Call.

Contact me via email:


Patents In the Age of Digital Transformation

(Note: This article was originally published by Business Transformation & Operational Excellence Summit (BTOES) at

Digital transformation is accelerating the innovation process across most industries. As a result of this transformation, companies are investing significant time and money developing new products. Many of these new products contain patent-worthy inventions distinguishing them from other products in the marketplace.

Patents protect your investments of time and money spent developing new products by allowing the patent owner to stop competitors from using protected inventions.

Converging technologies are accelerating inventions in many sectors. Exponential technologies are also creating inventions at a rapid pace. Today, more than ever, it is important to quickly identify and protect critical inventions because most countries, including the United States, have “first to file” patent laws.

Based on more than 20 years of experience working with companies to protect their inventions, I have developed a 3-step process to identify, evaluate, and protect your most important inventions. This process helps you build a portfolio of patents that protect your inventions, position your business as an industry leader, and provide a competitive advantage.

  1. Identify All Inventions

Before you can think about protecting your inventions, you first need to identify them. Start by teaching your team members how to identify inventions and giving examples of inventions created in your organization. Give your team members a simple way to submit inventions for evaluation by a review committee. A simple one-page document is easy to complete and ensures that inventions aren’t lost because the inventor didn’t want to take time to fill out a long, complex form. Implement a system to track these invention submissions so nothing slips through the cracks.

Be sure to incorporate the identification of inventions into your product development process. When a new product is finished, look back at the development process and identify inventions that were created. You can also consider invention mining and brainstorming activities. Try to make the invention process fun by including invention contests and creative ideation activities.

  1. Evaluate and Prioritize Your Inventions

You can’t afford to protect every invention, and some inventions are not worth protecting, so you need to prioritize. Create an invention evaluation committee within your organization to evaluate all inventions based on criteria unique to your company (e.g., based on company goals, growth plans, status of competitors, and exit strategy).

Schedule regular invention evaluation committee meetings based on the volume of invention disclosures received. At each meeting, evaluate all new inventions and assign a next step for each evaluated invention. Record these next steps and assign follow-up tasks for each invention.

  1. Protect the Right Inventions

When building a portfolio of patents for your business, it is important to develop four different types of patents to provide a barrier to entry by competitors.

  • Core Technology. These patents protect the unique features of your fundamental technology, framework, or systems. This core technology often represents the foundation of your products that gives you a competitive edge.
  • Critical Must-Have Features. These include special features that make your product stand out in the marketplace. By protecting must-have features, you can strengthen your competitive advantage by preventing other companies from offering these features.
  • Future Inventions. Strengthen your company’s future by looking at today’s industry trends and technology trends to predict future problems. Invent solutions to those problems now so you have broad patent protection when the rest of the world catches up.
  • Defensive Patents. Your portfolio of patents should include inventions that target your most aggressive competitors. Having some strong defensive patents in your portfolio may discourage litigation by aggressive competitors because you can defend yourself by asserting your patents against the competitor.

Patents can protect the great inventions created by your team. Take action to implement the 3-step process described above to identify, evaluate, and protect your most important inventions developed during this age of digital transformation.

Do you have questions about how to identify and protect your most valuable inventions?  I can help.

Contact Me to schedule a free introductory call.

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