Jonathan Miller along with his mom, Mem Miller, cofounded Dimples in 2010.  Dimples developed a patent-pending, ink-saving process for printed documents.  This helps organizations reduce printing costs while reducing greenhouse gas emissions.  (Full disclosure—Mem Miller is my cousin, I have no formal business connection with Dimples, and I obtain no financial benefit of any kind from Dimples.)

Recently, Jonathan shared with me the interesting process of founding and developing his company.  What he shared provided numerous lessons on entrepreneurship.  My blog posts this week are drawn from this material.

Trying to decide whether to patent an invention is a serious decision.  The patent process can be complicated, expensive, and time consuming.  The wise entrepreneur will investigate this question thoroughly.  Nevertheless, failing to protect your company’s intellectual property can be devastating.

When Dimples’ founders were trying to decide what to do with the patent question, they reached out to advisors.  One of their advisors helped them to settle the issue as Jonathan recounts:

“An advisor made the case that seeking a patent for Dimples’ ink-saving methodology would provide the best defensible mechanism (and make the young company’s portfolio more attractive to a possible acquisition).”

Two positive points!  Not only would a patent protect Dimples’ IP, it would position the company more favorably for future acquisition should the founders decide to sell.

Subsequent to that advice, Jonathan and Mem read attorney David Pressman’s book, Patent It Yourself.  Using Pressman’s book as a guide, they wrote the entire patent application themselves and then paid an attorney to perform just the final review and edit.  This approach saved the company significant legal costs.

Entrepreneurs must consider carefully their IP and how to protect it.  Simultaneously, they must consider the range of options on how to handle the patent process, including knowing exactly where the money will be best spent.  Each situation is unique.

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About James Meadows

Currently I serve as a training team manager for Johnson Controls at a customer-care center in Kansas City. Additionally, I am a business consultant, a freelance corporate writer, an Assembly of God ordained minister, a Civil Air Patrol chaplain, and a blogger. I believe we are living in the most fascinating times of human history. To maximize the opportunities these times present, I have a passionate interest in leadership development and organizational success, both of which I view as inextricably linked.

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