Everyone Wants to Be a Unicorn – But What About Patents?
A study of the IP positions of Unicorns (i.e., startups with valuations of over $1 Billion) conducted in 2015 revealed that 30% of US Unicorns have no US patent assets at all, while approximately 62% have 10 or fewer US patent assets (i.e., issued patents plus pending applications). Some of the Unicorns analyzed have since started creating a solid IP portfolio, many are still falling behind. Is it in the best interest of management and investors of these companies to examine their IP position and analyze their exposure, particularly if they are planning to enter new markets? Are these Unicorns at a higher risk of impending litigation? How does the lack of patents impact the success of their exit events, like an IPO or acquisition? These and other questions will be discussed.