What is a Patent Liaison?

A Patent Liaison is someone who represents the needs of the Product Manager and the patent portfolio manager (IP Attorney) to the inventor (or product team).

First the Liaison learns the product needs from the Product Manager with a meeting to discuss the product requirements.  Often a prior art search and a search of competitor technology is needed to further define the needs so more than one meeting may be necessary.  Support to the product manager may also include:

  • Prior Art and Literature Searches
  • Review of Patent Portfolio
  • Defining a strategic direction based on search results
  • Provide training for the inventors on invention, ideas, and how to search.

The Liaison then works with the inventor or product team to define the invention.  The biggest benefit a Liaison provides the Product manager and IP Attorney is being available to the design team to answer questions and bounce ideas off of.  The Liaison takes the place of the product manager to keep the design process moving forward rather than the design team having to wait for another meeting.

The Liaison can also help in other ways:

  • Prior Art Searches
  • Help writing disclosure
  • Reviewing the first draft of a Patent Application

Certainly the inventors are able to do all of the above tasks.  However, some inventors don’t perform those tasks well, have no desire to write a disclosure, hate reading patent application, and will avoid those tasks at all costs.  I can support management by working with the inventors to give as much or as little help as needed with those tasks.

Do you need a design around?

Are you stumped as to how to design a new “widget valve” to combat market erosion by a competitor who has a strong patent portfolio?  Give me a week (or two) and I’ll provide you with a new design, a disclosure of the invention, a prior art search, and assignment of the invention to your company.   I have no desire for ownership of the invention.  I just enjoy inventing.

The Liaison should support Product Line management by bringing out the best ideas and innovation from the inventors.