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When you obtain patent protection, one thing to remember is that your patent's protection is only limited to the extent that you are willing or can afford to enforce it.
And it's not very difficult for companies to design around a claim, develop what's called a knock-off, and put it on the market. Often the best protection from this is to develop a branding and marketing strategy that sets you apart from the rest and establishes your presence in the mind of consumers. As the saying goes, sometimes the best defense is offense. Take a look at brand leaders like Ben & Jerry to learn how they keep ahead of the pack. They're a great example because they were underdogs. Other brands to study are Virgin Airways, New Balance, and Harley Davidson.