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Russ Krajec



Russ Krajec is the CEO of BlueIron, a patent finance company, and author of Investing In Patents, which explains the BlueIron investment model. Russ is an angel investor, registered patent attorney, the former COO of a venture-backed startup company, and an inventor with 30+ US patents/applications.

Recent Articles by Russ Krajec

The USPTO Claims it Wants to Ensure ‘Robust and Reliable’ Patents – But Its Questions Imply Another Assault on Patent Owners

Last October, the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) issued a Request for Comments on USPTO Initiatives To Ensure the Robustness and Reliability of Patent Rights. Responses to this request are due by this Thursday, February 2, 2023. Patent owners, especially small businesses and independent inventors, need two things of the patent system: 1) Reliability/believability. We need patents that are respected when they are issued. We do not want any doubt about their validity. 2) Flexibility. We use many different strategies during patent prosecution. Many of our strategies reflect the startup-nature of our inventions, where we are constantly working on the product-market-fit. We may need several bites at the apple to effectively protect our invention. The Request for Comments suggests several different changes to patent prosecution, none of which address small companies’ needs.

Are the Pre-Appeal Conference and P3 Hopelessly Rigged? Practice Tips for the Savvy Practitioner

The unadvertised feature is that the Pre-Appeal Conference board is assembled by an administrative assistant in the technology center, but the P3 board is assembled by the SPE. This is a critical difference. With the P3 program, the Office is trying to address an internally perceived problem that they believe they have with the Pre-Appeal Conference, which is the technical knowledge of the third member of the board. The third member of the Pre-Appeal Conference is the first available examiner from any technology center and with any type of technical background. This person is essentially selected at random, and often has no technical competence in the area. With the P3 program, the third person is picked by the SPE. This gives the SPE the ability to stack the deck in their favor, intentionally or not.

Why Exclusive Patent Licenses Can Be More Valuable Than Owning Patents Outright

Patents are a big capital investment for a startup company, but so is an office building. However, no startup company owns their office building outright. Even if they did own the building, they would take a mortgage on the building to free up capital. Exclusive licenses are the same thing as a lease agreement: the startup has full control of the assets, but does not have to spend capital to build or maintain the asset.

The Quid Pro Quo – How Bad Patents Can Harm A Startup Company

There are many examples of patents that had virtually no value because the claims were undetectable, unenforceable, or ridiculously narrow. In the process of getting a worthless patent — a bad patent, the company gave up their complete roadmap for how to manufacture and use their product. These bad patents are not just a waste of money, but their competitive advantage is eviscerated by disclosing everything they know. The bottom line: Some patent applications can be very damaging to a startup company.

Is This Patent Any Good? How to Tell a Good Patent From a Bad One

Many inventors boast that they did not understand their patent application because their attorney used “legalese.” Some even joke that it was so dense that they did not even know if their invention was in there. Make no mistake about it: a good patent is easy to read. Patents are business documents that are read and understood by real people, not attorneys. When the patent is litigated, the patent is read by a judge and jury, who are common, ordinary people. If a normal person cannot understand the patent, neither can they.

The Attorney-Client Relationship Can Be Harmful to a Startup if Not Managed Correctly

Inside the business of patent law, small inventors are known as ”walking malpractice suits.” Patent attorneys are taught to never give business advice. Instead, they merely explain all the options and make the client choose. Then the attorney is not on the hook… Patent attorneys are expert at writing good patents and getting them through the USPTO… The company has the responsibility to make sure that the patents meet its business goals–not the patent attorney.

How Patents Can Have a Multiplying Effect on a Startup Company

The best patents are those that multiply an investment and actually generate money on their own… Standards essential patents are the holy grail of patents in today’s business landscape. Most startups are focused on getting a product to market quickly, getting validation, and starting a revenue stream. Once there, the startups begin to scale. If there is any chance that a startup’s technology – even a piece of it – could be incorporated into an industry standard, the patent needs to be investment-grade. In these situations, multiple patents would also be a good investment.

Due Diligence on Startups: Patent Assignments and Inventorship Issues

Assignments are the mechanism to transfer title of a patent, just like deeds are used to transfer real estate… For due diligence, the owners of the patents should provide all of the assignments in a chain of title. The chain of title always starts with the inventor and will progress to the current owner. If there are any license agreements relating to the patents, each of the previous owners of the patents should provide copies of the agreements.