This list is based on my experience of working with biotech clients who were either research companies or in tech transfer. It includes incidental advantages (such as showcasing the invention) which can’t really be thought of as ‘objectives’ when filing, but which are important to bear in mind.
1. Providing A Monopoly That Can Be Commercially Exploited
A patent provides a space in the market which can be exploited now or in the future.
2. Attracting Investors
Patent applications are very important in attracting money for commercialising academic research.
3. For Defensive Purposes
Patents and application are bargaining chips in negotiations, can be used in cross-licensing and by the threat of countersuing they can deter infringement actions.
4. For Providing Additional Layers Of Protection
It is advantageous to have several patent cases covering your products, deterring competitors from challenging them or infringing.
5. To Increase The Value Of The Portfolio/Company
Each patent case will increase the overall value of the portfolio and in certain situations that can mean a substantial increase in the value of the company.
6. For External Image
Biotech companies are expected to have patents and applications. These can be seen as evidence of a successful research program.
7. For Internal Motivation
The filing of patent applications represents a tangible goal that can act as encouragement for departments and individual scientists.
8. To Showcase The Invention
In a tech transfer situation the patent application itself can act as a document that showcases the invention to interested collaborators or commercial parties.
9. To Fill A Gap In A Previous Case
Sometimes patent applications need to be filed to fill gaps in areas not covered by previous cases. That can happen as the technology develops or if it realised that broad claims are unlikely to be granted on previous cases.
10. To Open Up New Revenue Streams
Patent applications can be filed by a company on technology which it cannot exploit itself, but which can be licensed out to others.