Many of my friends keep a sharp eye at the patent office. No, they aren’t coming up with genius design ideas that needed to be patented. They are also not patent trolls that are registering patents left and right only to troll inventors and extort money out of them. Then why do they hang around in the patent database so much? I’ll explain.
One of my friends who is a tech reporter uses patent office in order to find out the upcoming releases by the tech companies. It is obvious that if Apple is working on an upcoming feature, they will patent that first before it goes into production. This way, my friend is often able to get some super early scoops.
Another friend of mine who is an internet marketer uses patent database to get a better understanding of “policies” instead of simply reading the policy page of whatever services that he use. The policy page is almost always a guideline and you can not understand with full clarity what you can and can’t do. For example, if you’re trying to understand what ads you can and can’t run on Facebook, a policy page could be a good place to start from. But if you like to play on the line, Facebook ad patents could get you a better idea of the inner workings of the platform.
These are obviously seriously advanced use cases but a great resource for people who rely on tricks and hacks to game the system. Whether one should game the system or not, I’ll write more on this tomorrow.