Ideas are a dime a million. Everyone has ideas, many of them great, many of them terrible, and most of them never see the light of day or make the first dollar. Very few ideas get patented because the patent process is expensive, time-consuming, and the individuals who come up with lots of ideas generally have day jobs.
Many Patents Make a Good War Chest
The Fortune 1000, on the other hand, has time, money, and resources to patent literally thousands of ideas. The list on the right is the top 10 patent holders for 2016.
As you can see, there’s a lot of IP in these businesses, and these are just the top 10 patent holders as of 2016. It’s a solid look at the landscape from which The Combine builds exciting, sustainable businesses with an “unfair advantage” over potential competitors.
The Unfair Advantage
That’s the simple answer to why we seek out institutional IP: it’s been vetted, patented, and is defensible. That alone could be the unfair advantage, but we go further to vet the market (or markets) for the IP. We don’t hire interns to do the vetting. Our team of experienced executives and entrepreneurs does the diligence and vetting because they’ve done it before and they can do it more intelligently, efficiently, and – most importantly – dispassionately.
These ideas are not our babies. If we don’t think we can create a great business from an idea after we’ve vetted it, then we don’t pursue it any further. No feelings are hurt, and no more capital is poured down that hole just because someone loves the idea and refuses to let it go.
We seek out institutional IP because we have the experience to determine if it can be turned into a great business and the talent to launch that business. Does your enterprise own patents that could be making money outside the four walls of the business?