Although we do it all the time, the decision to purchase a product is actually a complex calculation. The purchaser is assessing value, considering alternatives and evaluating the veracity of the claims made for the product. Good marketers know this and look for ways to add weight and credibility to their promotional messages. One source of third-party validation that doesn’t always spring to mind is the company’s patent portfolio.
Patents can be a powerful way for a company to differentiate itself from its competitors. Labelling a product (or process) as “patented” or “patent pending” creates a perception that it is “cutting edge” or “technologically advanced” and a clear improvement over competitive “commodity” offerings. By branding innovations and promoting their patent status, marketers also imply that the consumer can only obtain these unique characteristics from their products and not those of their competition.
The same principle applies to corporate branding. The size and growth rate of a patent portfolio are important data points that a clever marketing department can use to differentiate a company from its competitors. Even significant patent litigation wins can be useful weapons in the marketing department’s arsenal. Litigation demonstrates to consumers that a company believes its technology is truly valuable and worth fighting for (and by extension, worth buying). A positive court decision is useful third-party confirmation of a company’s unique technical capabilities.
So if you’re a marketer looking for an edge, reach out to your legal or IP department to discover the gold buried in your company’s patent portfolio. Because when it comes to patents, why should the lawyers have all the fun?