Grips 1/2020 - Investors Favour Start-ups with Patents

A Start-up does not only live off innovative ideas and hard-working founders - it also needs capital. Often founders can source seed capital from their personal networks. Sooner or later though, the start-up needs to attract new investors. Winning them can be a difficult task. Tailor-made patents can be crucial.

After his PhD dissertation, Andrea B. founds a start-up. He wants to use his scientific insights to bring a new sensor to market.

From the get-go, he is fully occupied with building a prototype, expanding his network of potential clients in the industry, evaluating suppliers and developing software. He postpones anything he doesn’t deem critically important.
Andrea’s sensor is a success, impressing everyone he shows its capabilities to. With such results, surely it can’t be too hard to find venture capital? And capital is sorely needed at this point. Building pre-series, setting up serial production and marketing efforts are an enormous money drain.

In conversations, investors quickly tend to ask whether Andrea’s start-up has patented the sensor. Awkward moments ensue because he had not seriously considered this question thus far and cannot give a good answer.

He realises he’s getting stuck and approaches a patent attorney. What can he and what should he patent? What is the process like and what does it cost? How exactly should he proceed? The attorney takes his time to carefully analyse the situation with Andrea. After two months ofcollaboration, Andrea walks out with the answers he needs for the investors.

He can offer the investors more security with a newly filed patent application. On top of that, his tailor-made patent roadmap includes both a schedule and a cost plan.