THE THOUGHTFUL ENTREPRENEUR PODCAST

1745 – Intellectual Property as a Business Asset with Craige Thompson

In this episode of the Thoughtful Entrepreneur, your host Josh Elledge speaks with the Entrepreneurial Patent Attorney, Author & Speaker of Modern Thompson Patent Law, Craige Thompson.

Thompson wide

Craige's journey into the world of patent law is a fascinating one. He grew up working for his entrepreneur father, which sparked his passion for business. After a decade-long career in electrical engineering, he transitioned to patent law. 

Over the past 24 years, he has worked with individuals and companies of all sizes, including tech giants like Apple, Google, Intel, and Honeywell. His mission is to protect entrepreneurs from financial ruin, a lesson he learned from witnessing his father's business collapse due to changes in government regulations.

Craige explained that intellectual property falls into four categories: trade secrets, patents, trademarks, and copyrights. His expertise lies in patents and trade secrets, where he assists technology companies in safeguarding their innovative products and services from copycats and infringers.

Craige emphasized the importance of protecting your brand reputation and trademarks. He explained that a strong brand reputation leads to a certain level of quality associated with your trademark. 

However, some copycats try to trick people by using similar trademarks, thereby cheapening your brand. He stressed the need to act if someone misuses your trademark.

Craige also highlighted the value of intellectual property as a business asset. He explained that patents can be bought, sold, rented, used as collateral, or enforced against others. 

By securing your intellectual property, you increase the valuation of your company, whether you're looking to exit, scale, or create additional income through licensing deals.

Key Points from the Episode:

  • Introduction of Craige Thompson as a patent attorney and founder of Thompson Patent Law and Invention to Exit
  • Craige's background and experience in working with individuals and companies of all sizes
  • Explanation of the four areas of intellectual property: trade secrets, patents, trademarks, and copyrights
  • Importance of seeking assistance from an attorney in the process of protecting intellectual property
  • Discussion on protecting brand reputation and trademarks from copycats and improper use
  • The suggestion of exploring business solutions rather than immediate litigation in resolving trademark disputes
  • Highlighting the value of intellectual property as a business asset and its various uses
  • Recommendation of Thompson Patent Law's lightning prior art search for determining patentability
  • Emphasis on the importance of protecting intellectual property throughout the podcast

About Craige Thompson:

Craige Thompson is an accomplished professional with a mission to support creative problem solvers and enhance the impact of patented innovations.

Transitioning from electrical engineering to patent law at the world's leading patent firm in the early 2000s, he has focused on maximizing the value of businesses through integrated processes involving intellectual property (IP), operations, and marketing expertise. 

With over 30 years of A-level engineering and patent experience, Thompson excels in solving complex technical, legal, and business challenges. His proprietary system, “LITIGATION QUALITY PATENT” (R), reflects his commitment to engineering patents as valuable business assets that generate substantial profits. 

Craige's team specializes in offensive and defensive patent protection and provides litigation-quality solutions to safeguard market share and defend against patent infringement. 

His technical expertise spans diverse areas such as analog circuits, power electronics, embedded systems, medical devices, and more. Craige's innovative contributions aim to protect and leverage patents for increased business profitability.

About Modern Thompson Patent Law:

Thompson Patent Law specializes in creating patents that hold substantial value and withstand legal scrutiny. Positioned as the home of the Litigation Quality Patent, their approach emphasizes generating faster revenue by ensuring patents command respect rather than being easily dismissed. 

The firm, a boutique comprised of attorneys with extensive experience as Electrical Engineers, uniquely “Speaks Fluent Engineer,” facilitating efficient communication with inventor-engineers. 

With a focus on delivering high-value, litigation-quality patents, Thompson Patent Law has a proven track record working with major clients like Apple, Google, Intel, and Microsoft, as well as smaller businesses and startups. 

The firm's commitment to doing things “the right way” aligns with the author's book, “Patent Offense,” offering insights into a re-engineered, faster path for obtaining higher quality, more cost-effective patents.

Links Mentioned in this Episode:

Want to learn more? Check out Thompson Patent Law website at

https://thompsonpatentlaw.com/

Check out Thompson Patent Law on LinkedIn at

https://www.linkedin.com/company/thompson-patent-law-offices-pc

Check out Thompson Patent Law on Facebook at

https://www.facebook.com/ThompsonPatentLaw

Check out Craige Thompson on LinkedIn at

https://www.linkedin.com/in/craigeothompson/

Check out Craige Thompson on Twitter at

https://twitter.com/craige_thompson

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Transcript

Josh (00:00:05) - Hey there, thoughtful listener. Would you like consistent and predictable sales activity with no spam and no ads? I'll teach you step by step how to do this, particularly if you're an agency owner, consultant, coach, or B2B service provider. What I teach has worked for me for more than 15 years and has helped me create more than $10 million in revenue. Just head to up my influence and watch my free class on how to create endless high ticket sales appointments. You can even chat with me live and I'll see and reply to your messages. Also, don't forget the thoughtful entrepreneur is always looking for guests. Go to up my influence and click on podcast. We'd love to have you. With us right now it's patent attorney Craige Thompson. Craige, you are also the founder of Thompson Patent Law and Invention. To exit your websites, by the way, are invention the number two exit and Thompson patent law. Craige, it's great to have you on the show.

Craige (00:01:20) - Thanks, Josh. It's great to be here.

Craige (00:01:22) - Thank you so much.

Josh (00:01:23) - Full disclosure we're friends.

Craige (00:01:25) - And.

Josh (00:01:26) - We've become friends, and we're doing some good work together and some projects together. But, you know, I really I'm excited for our listener who stumbled upon this episode, because I think we're going to be able to reveal to them something that they may have not really considered fully when we think about intellectual property. But, Craige, would you mind if I just kind of let you share a bit about your impact and what you do and who you work with?

Craige (00:01:49) - Yeah. It's really my, my I started I grew up as from five years old working for my dad as an entrepreneur. He was a pharmacist, entrepreneur. He had an independent pharmacy, and I worked every dirty job inside that business and counting, you know, cleaning, washing shelves all the way up to payroll and bookkeeping when I was in college. And so I really have a heart for entrepreneur and business. And so that's what led me to first electrical engineering for ten years.

Craige (00:02:18) - And for the last 24 years, I've been doing patent law for companies, from the individuals to companies the size of Apple, Google, Intel and Honeywell and everything in between. So that's it because it's all for protecting entrepreneurs. My dad. When he was running his business and he had a great business going. He was the first one to get into computers. He was that that leading edge entrepreneur. When when computers were like this big. Yeah. And it was like 70,000, like 60 4k and these giant disks that were bigger than records and, you know, green screens. He was way into that. He was very successful. And then the government changed the Medicare reimbursement. And suddenly a couple years later, he died broke. And I don't want that to happen to other entrepreneurs. I mean, that's my passion. I'm not a pharmacist. Chemistry was my C in college. I'm an electrical engineering by trade. So my solution set my my gift to the world is through patents. You know, best selling author and patents.

Craige (00:03:35) - This is what I geek out on is patents and business. And my way to help technology companies bring their gifts, their products and services that are innovative, that make the world a better place. The way I feed my soul is to is to bless them so they can bless more lives by protecting them against copycats and infringers so they can actually, you know, bring their stuff to market, be successful as an entrepreneur, get to that successful exit from an idea, from invention to exit. That's really what it's all about. And I just do that. My, my my secret gift is to because I'm a science engineer engineering guy. Yeah. Patents a natural fit. And that's my particular angle on business. Yeah.

Josh (00:04:23) - Okay. So yeah. And for all business adults listening right now, listen, you got to protect your intellectual property. Correct? Could you maybe talk about what is kind of within that scope of when we think about protecting, like, what that means and what would be included in that?

Craige (00:04:46) - Well, there's four areas in intellectual property.

Craige (00:04:48) - There's trade secrets, patents, trademarks and copyrights. So the particular area of technology is patents that that I do and as well as trade secrets. And so that goes for everything from NDAs to design patents, utility patents and protecting your brand with trademarks and copyrights for your artistic expressions and books and things like that. So that's the world of IP. My, I'm an inch wide and a mile deep in patents. I'm a patent guy. Okay, that that's just what I do and own it in you know to address your question, owning the ownership of the idea, the control of the idea that monopoly pricing power advantage, where you get some exclusivity in the market to protect yourself against competitors. I just had a conversation. I negotiated a deal just today with a client. We didn't even write the patent. The client came to us, they purchased some patents, set of patents, and then a competitor started. He just came out with a product. We noticed that we said, hey, there's a they're starting to do what these patents that you got.

Craige (00:05:57) - And I negotiated them. They're taking their stuff off the market. We had to get a little creative to make it painless, but that way it's not a lot of lawyers and a lot of no litigation would just make a nice business deal. My client gets the exclusive, right? Because they have the patents. They didn't even invent it. They bought the patent rights. That's another way to do it. A lot of people never think of that. And. You know, it's there. It is in practice. I mean, this is what patents do. My son asked me, how do you how do you how do you control it? Well, that's what patents are for. They give you market exclusivity. You get to have you get to have premium pricing power from you know, if you look at economics, you don't you're not in a competitive situation. You get that extra gain. So yeah.

Josh (00:06:47) - Um, and so let's let's talk about what the typical process is like and why it might make sense to get some assistance in protecting our intellectual property.

Josh (00:07:02) - So I find that the Patent and Trademark Office is generally pretty easy to work with in terms of government entities. Now, I should say that that is the case for very simple things. That's my experience anyway. But that said, it's easy to screw this up if you if you don't know what you're doing. And there are certainly as things get more complex, if you don't have a guide, good luck. You may. Otherwise you're just wasting your time, wasting your effort. You're not protected, right? So can you talk maybe just a little bit about the environment for traditional business leaders? And again, I'm only talking for something really simple like, you know, we've done obviously we've protected our brand. My influence savings angel. You know in each of those cases, we were very, very we knew that it was just very, very essential to make sure that we lock down. So that and I'll get to a follow up question in the future about some things. Let's let's first talk about why you want an attorney, why you want to guide, why you want some help with this.

Josh (00:08:01) - Yeah.

Craige (00:08:02) - Well, I think you're talking about for your severe case, you're talking about a trademark, right, Josh? Yeah. Trademarks and copyrights. Yeah. And those are less technical. You don't need somebody. You don't need a guy that has the engineering degree and the patent bar certificate that you need for patent. Now, you can do this yourself, but it's like doing surgery yourself or landing a plane yourself. If you don't have the training or, you know, doing your own dental work, you can do it. You're it's a free country, but the results you're probably not going to be happy with. And as a matter of fact, there are four things that I tell people that you really need in order to to really improve your odds of actually having a patent that actually does something. Most patents. I'm going to be honest with you, Josh, aren't worth a dime. I mean, they're really most patents are not. And matter of fact, we talk of the people that come to us.

Craige (00:09:00) - And I don't care if it's inventors at Honeywell or I mean at the size of that company, or a mid-size medical device manufacturer, or an individual with a software app idea that they want to protect 30% of the time right out of the gate, the first thing we do is we do some analysis, and before we get into this, we talk them out of getting a patent. 30% of the time, it doesn't matter. It's a company. It's the idea and the the we we've been through. I've been doing this for 24 years and I've done it for the best companies. The biggest number one, five, fortune 500, all of them, all the tech companies. I've done it at the highest levels. I know exactly what to do. And there there is a people are getting patents they shouldn't get. And so that's kind of a real crusade of mine. I wrote a book about it called Patent Offense. It's available as a resource if you want to know, like what I recommend a patent offense is, is the electronic version.

Craige (00:10:06) - And you can get it a little bit more extensively, of course on Amazon in the in the paperback book.

Josh (00:10:12) - So got it. Yep. Patent offense.com. Yep. Look at that written by Craige Thompson. So for the past 20 years Craige you've you've built patent portfolios for companies like you've worked with Google, Apple Microsoft Intel, Gillette, Duracell, SAP, hallmark, Honeywell. It's basically everybody you've you've been connected in some way with. Um, and so you know, when we think about, you know, let's say that, you know, we do get you know, we do get proper patents, we do get proper trademarks. How does that actually protect us, then?

Craige (00:10:56) - Well, how would you feel, Josh, if you're someone came up with a podcast, they liked what you were doing and they came up with a podcast called up my influencer.

Josh (00:11:12) - And then he used my colors and.

Craige (00:11:15) - Yeah, I mean, just the word, I mean up my influencer or you know, that, you know, would you like people would maybe type that in and this out.

Craige (00:11:24) - My influencer I think that's Josh. And then they'll go there. Yeah. And because.

Josh (00:11:27) - Market confusion.

Craige (00:11:28) - For you. Yeah. Because you have goodwill because of your reputation in your brand and they know, hey, this is the quality that I'm looking for. I want Josh and they end up at up my influencer and in some schmuck who's a copycat who realized he can get traffic by. Sort of, you know, sort of faking your name and tricking people. So there's you have when you build up brand reputation in your brand and your trademark, it's sort of like, you know, there's there's people in trademarks. People come to expect a certain quality based on, on a mark. So if you have a piece of meat, right, if that meat has a as a trademark mark associated with it, a symbol that's like a big yellow M, you have in your mind instantly an association of what kind of quality do you expect, how it's going to taste, where it came from, and the price and you have a quality expectation.

Craige (00:12:29) - If that's a same piece of it's another piece of meat and it has a Ruth's Chris label on it. You have a different expectation of price and quality and sauce of that. Good. And so the trademark, you don't want somebody put, you know, putting, you know, Ruth, you want somebody putting a yellow M on your Ruth's Chris steak or something and cheapening your brand. You invested in building up this brand. People know, like and trust you and they're looking for you. And then they get tricked into going to some knockoff.

Josh (00:13:03) - You don't know for sure. And what is our general recourse if if someone then starts using what would clearly is your trademark in an improper and confusing way?

Josh (00:13:18) - Well.

Craige (00:13:19) - This okay. So like the example I did just today, I just negotiated a nice, very low attorney deal. I'm the only attorney in the deal right now, so there's no litigators involved. Where we come into a business resolution. Litigators hate it when I when I talk about this because there's a business arrangement.

Craige (00:13:43) - The guy the guy is a business guy. He understood like, okay, we got some patents. He's, you know, let's let's make a deal. Right? Okay. So I'm just better to get out of this thing. And how do we come to a deal on the business level and then just treat it like a responsible business person? Oftentimes that takes the form of a license. Okay? A patent license, for example. I just spoke with the CEO of a company last night, and I explained how I do licensing in a way that. Very few, even very sophisticated CEOs seem to understand. And when they see it, when I explain it, they're like, wow, you know, that makes everything a lot simpler. And it makes a lot of opportunity for for ways to create multiple streams of passive income and in to maximize the monetization of even a single patent or a patent portfolio. So there's their licensing is a great way to do. Of course, there's litigation in the extreme where like they just go, but that is very, very rare actually.

Craige (00:14:51) - It's like 1%, you know, actually get into litigation, like 1% of those cases actually go to trial. So it's very, very rare. There's much more commonly. Either they realize the patents garbage, which happens a lot because it was written by somebody who didn't have the engineering, the litigation, the patent prosecution or the business understanding of what the client's how to really protect the client's product. Or, you know, the there just wasn't a, you know, they just weren't able to solve the litigation. So I personally I'm not I've worked at the number one litigation firm, patent litigation firm in the country for seven years. I know how litigation is done at the highest, highest levels for the best companies. But I'm to the dismay of a lot of litigators. I like to look for business solutions to like, end litigation and people can like. Get back to business. Everybody gets a patent owner, gets what's coming to him, and then go about your way. And we're not sitting here going to court all the time.

Craige (00:15:55) - That's there. We know how to do that. We can we can definitely go there if that's where it needs to go. But very rare. That's actually what needs to happen.

Josh (00:16:03) - You know, and one thing I wish we had a little bit more time to talk about this, but realizing that your intellectual, your your patent trademarks, you're protected intellectual property is very much an asset. So when we think about and this is the whole Craige I think notion behind, you know, your work with invention to exit. Right. Is that get that stuff locked down because that increases your valuation as a company. So if you're thinking, you know, long term about where you're going to go, this is a part of the deal. If you get this stuff locked down now that increases your value. Right. And I know you could talk about this for a solid hour. And I'm sorry, I've only given you about two minutes because this is a really important topic in your world.

Craige (00:16:47) - It is. And there are.

Craige (00:16:48) - So every CEO that I talked to of a seven figure, eight figure business, they have under monetized assets that with some IP configuration. The valuation of their company, whether they're looking to exit or scale or just create increased income for for the business through licensing deals. There's, there's there's lots and lots of untapped opportunity of these, as you said correctly, business assets. That's what that's how we see as patents. We see patents as business assets. They are just business assets. You can buy them. You can sell them. You can rent them. You can use them as collateral. You can use them to enforce against someone else as a private monopoly. Right. You can there's there's you can monetize assets. And it's very intellectual property in general. There's a lot of analogies to real property which people understand intuitively. You know, rental property, apartment homes know you can rent them and make they're very valuable. They can increase in value. They also have cash flow, does a lot of the same things with intellectual property and even more.

Josh (00:18:05) - All right. So, Craige, let's let's make sure that we've given folks some great calls to action. Now next steps because, you know, hopefully we've we've reignited your to our listener right now, we've reignited some enthusiasm over making sure that your intellectual property is locked down. But Craige, where should we send people to next?

Josh (00:18:25) - Well.

Craige (00:18:27) - The one thing I would say today if you're thinking about is my idea patentable. That's where it all kind of starts. The very first thing we do, it's been amazing. Our clients absolutely love this new thing that we came up with about a year ago, a little bit before everybody started talking about AI and ChatGPT. We were using AI to assist our prior art searching, and we've got it down to a very unique process that we developed. It takes 90 minutes, it's interactive, it's immediate and it's dynamic dynamically figuring out with you in about 60 to 90 minutes whether you should should stop, put your wallet away. Don't invest in patents on this idea. Or if this idea has legs and might be patentable, then you can take the next step.

Craige (00:19:18) - But it's a great way to start. It's actually a lot of times if you were to do it the old traditional prior art search way, sending it out to India or something, you might even pay more and you get you. You wouldn't even get the answer to the question, can it? What what, if anything, can I patent? We get we get very, very clear that in 60 to 90 minutes, understanding your business, your timing, your technology and what you're trying and how you can monetize that. And we do what we call a lightning prior art search. It's El Paso Thompson patent law.com. El Paso stands for lightning prior art search El Pais dot Thompson patent law.com.

Josh (00:20:01) - All right. And we have that link as well as the other links that you've shared. Again, Thompson patent law, we've got invention to exit and then patent offense.com. Craige, you've been in this world a long time. You've helped a lot of very important people. I absolutely would send anyone your way. Who needs to have a conversation.

Josh (00:20:29) - Look at what's patentable what's not. Craige Thompson again, it's been a joy. Thank you so much for joining us.

Craige (00:20:34) - Thanks, Josh. Have a profitable day.

Josh (00:20:42) - Thanks for listening to The Thoughtful Entrepreneur Show. If you are a thoughtful business owner or professional who would like to be on this daily program, please visit up my influence slash guest. If you're a listener, I'd love to shout out your business to our whole audience for free me. You can do that by leaving a review on Apple Podcasts or join our listener Facebook group. Just search for the Thoughtful Entrepreneur and Facebook. I'd love, even if you just stopped by to say hi, I'd love to meet you. We believe that every person has a message that can positively impact the world. We love our community who listens and shares our program every day. Together, we are empowering one another as thoughtful entrepreneurs. Hit subscribe so that tomorrow morning. That's right. Seven days a week you are going to be inspired and motivated to succeed. I promise to bring positivity and inspiration to you for around 15 minutes each day.

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