Purpose ‐ The purpose of this paper is to further the development of strategic thinking, relevant for both academics and practitioners, about a key asset in the knowledge economy: patents. Design/methodology/approach ‐ This paper draws on existing insights on the strategic use of patents, presenting them in a coherent framework. Findings ‐ The paper discusses the different aspects to patent strategizing that need dedicated management attention, and discusses the key considerations to be taken into account. The paper also indicates at which levels in the organization patent strategizing needs to take place. Practical implications ‐ Practitioners will be much more aware of the strategic options for using patents to further a firm's competitive position. Originality/value ‐ The paper draws to some extent on existing knowledge about patents. Such knowledge has, however, been scattered across different domains. The strategic options for a firm of using patents have not been discussed at length or in the context of a comprehensive framework either in the academic literature or in that for practitioners.