My startup is working on a consumer product (manufacture, sell, ship), where we have developed a really great improvement over our competitors. We have patent pending status, and will be entering the market shortly.
Because some of our competitors are very large corporations we're of course concerned that they may try to squash us by infirnging the patent or challenging it to create unbearable legal costs for us.
I'm interested to learn what others' experiences were if they had to defend their patents early on in their start-ups' existence and how they dealt with the main risk (running out of cash).
I have heard of patent lawyers that would litigate for a portion of the settlement, or patent insurance and the like, but I don't know much about how realistic these options are, and how well they might work.
Got one very thorough answer, but I'd like to open up the discussion and ask what it is that start ups do right to ensure they can get some value from their inventions & IP (e.g. secure licensing deals / etc).
What can a (non-software) entrepreneur do to strengthen his hand as much as possible.