In this day and age when everyone is looking to create the next big thing, protecting unique processes and products is a crucial step to differentiate a company. Many entrepreneurs recognize the need to build a strong Intellectual Property portfolio, but many shy away from the challenge due to budgeting or lack of know how. From an investors point of view, an Intellectual Property strategy can mitigate risk and increase the probability of investment. Since both founders and investors need to assess similar ideas when determining and evaluating an effective IP strategy, here are 6 important talking points to have a great conversation:

1. Describe the Business Context

The context represents the framework within which the Firm will operate and compete in leading to value creation at scale and over time.  Focus on how Intellectual Property fits and is relevant along with rates of innovation, competitiveness, and offering life cycles.

2. Define the Firm’s Strategic Intent

Clear descriptions of the firm’s strategic intent within the business context where they participate and how Intellectual Property impacts this context. This context involves assessing the relevance of IP, rates of change driving innovation, customary product life cycles and associated product development costs.

3. Identify the Stakeholders

A stakeholder is an entity that will participate in the Firm’s strategic intent. These can be customers who are a source of the Firm’s value, competitors who seek this same value and indirect third parties, which can influence outcomes.

4. Assemble the Firm’s Offerings Leading to Value Creation

The firm needs to clearly prioritize their offerings – products, services, relationships, know-how, infrastructure etc. leading to value and worthy of protection.

5. Align the Firm’s offerings with Intellectual Property Vehicles

The firm must then select which Intellectual Property vehicles it will use to protect which sources of value. These are generally patents, trade secrets, trademarks, copyrights, unique relationships and know-how beyond specific trade secrets and market presence is it physical or cyber in nature.

6. Define Specific Plans for Deploying the Intellectual Property Vehicles

This should be described in a road map with each specific deployment supported with a written plan and budget over some period of time but no less than three years or the firm’s strategic planning horizon.


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