ttools (A): The Value of a Patent to the Entrepreneur
A self-employed innovator developed and patented a novel combination pen and stylus device to complement the recently released Palm Pilot personal digital assistant. He presented his design to Palm, under a nondisclosure agreement to discuss the market response to the product, and his company, ttools, was subsequently allowed to advertise the device in a monthly e-mail to Palm customers. After ttools' release of the Throttle pen/stylus, Palm and the design firm IDEO introduced a similar pen/stylus device that appeared to infringe on ttools' patent. ttools, being a small, resource-constrained company, was in a precarious position. Its competitive advantage and rights as a patent holder were being threatened. It had few financial resources to draw upon, and thus its livelihood as a company was at stake. Investigates the available options ttools had to respond to Palm and IDEO's actions.