Sawyer Law Group

Company Founder with products Invensense powers

Protecting Your IP from Startup to IPO

Sawyer Law Group brings more to your company than the preparation of excellent and defendable patents. The firm also serves as a valuable counselor and collaborator for protecting your intellectual property from the startup phase, to growth, to IPO and beyond.

A typical case of this collaboration occurred between the firm and a fresh Silicon Valley startup named Invensense.

Invensense first engaged the firm in late 2004, long before the introduction of the Smartphone by Apple and Google in 2007. The company had developed innovative technologies around the concept of motion processing--which enables devices to respond to movement and position in space.

The Invensense founders had previously worked with Managing Attorney Joseph A. Sawyer, Jr. Familiar with Joe's work and style, when it came time to protect their technology, they contacted Joe to discuss working with the firm. While they evaluated multiple firms, what drew the company to select the firm were several factors: the firm had performed work on similar technology, the firm had an effective international presence, and the firm offered competitive pricing.

However, what probably sealed the deal, was the firm's bold approach. In Mr. Sawyer's words: "They were on a shoestring budget. Our approach is not to ask for retainers. The risk you always take with a startup is you don't know if they're going to pay. Confidence came from having worked with him before. The nature of practice in Silicon Valley is that you take risks with people."

Formulating a Strategy

Sawyer shares that what the firm advises a startup to do when building an IP portfolio is threefold:

  1. Make sure you cover not only technology that is related to your current product line, but to envision how your product line is going to evolve as your competitors respond.
  2. It's not enough to protect your current functionality. Augment your patent portfolio by drilling down and broadening the scope of your innovations with broader claims.
  3. Envision how your technology changes as hardware gets smaller and cheaper. How does it evolve as connectivity improves and gets faster?

Navigating Growth

The Invensense portfolio of technologies exploded on the international scene as a central technology in Nintendo's Wii Home Entertainment Systems. Invensense motion sensing technology enabled new modes of game interaction through the handheld controllers Wii introduced. As Invensense grew, Joe and the firm continued working with Invensense VP of Engineering Steve Lloyd and Directors of Engineering Joe Seeger and Martin Lim. In Joe's words: "Building a technology from the ground up involves a whole team of experts. You have to be able to be flexible enough to work with differing work styles and visions, and help keep continuity as business conditions change. We've been successful at doing this with several of our startups."

Impacting an IPO

In late 2011, Invensense conducted a successful IPO, raising over $80 Million. Essential to the IPO's success was the patent portfolio. According to Sawyer, "The patents helped investors know that this leading edge technology has been protected. That competitors couldn't easily come in and copy the technology, without facing some defensive countermeasures. The patent portfolio helped to validate the technology. Post IPO, many companies are faced with incoming litigation, and without a strong patent portfolio, this would become problematic."

Creating Success with Your Technology

Let Sawyer Law Group apply its 20 years of experience helping technology firms protect their technologies in a strategic way. We'd like to help to become the next Invensense. Set up a consultation with us today.