Additonal authors: . Book title: Proceedings of the 58th Conference of Metallurgists Hosting Copper 2019. Chapter: . Chapter title:
A diverse patent portfolio and an effective intellectual property strategy are vital in today’s small business world. Not only does a diverse patent portfolio enable a company to secure a monopoly within the market, it greatly increases the value of a company’s intangible assets and keeps competitors at bay. An overview of the patenting process as it pertains specifically to the materials science-related start-ups will be given, together with a summary of some general patenting strategies and a review of some patenting errors to be avoided, such as premature disclosure of the invention to the public. Additionally, a review of new “green technology” initiatives recently adopted by Patent Offices around the world is also provided. These initiatives are expected to greatly benefit patent applicants in the fields of metallurgy and mining, where research efforts are often directed to environmentally-friendly products and processes.
Patents are playing an increasingly significant role in the business world. A diverse patent portfolio can enable a company to secure a monopoly within the market, which can provide a competitive advantage over competitors. At the same time, patent portfolio of any size can greatly contribute to the total value of a company’s intangible assets. As an example, Nortel entertained bids in 2011 for its portfolio of about 4000 patents, a large portion of which were directed to 3G- and 4G-mobile communication technologies. The portfolio was eventually sold for $4.5 billion to a consortium including Apple, EMC, Ericsson, Microsoft, Research in Motion, and Sony.
Copper mining, and indeed the global mining industry as a whole, is facing challenges. Ore deposits are increasingly low grade, complex, and deeper in the ground, rendering copper mining operations more difficult and costly. Production costs are increasing. According to one study, the cost of producing copper has increased by an average of 10% per year since 2005 (Cantallopts, 2017). To illustrate, the cost of producing a pound of copper in 2005 was 90 cents, but had increased to 217 cents by 2014.