Before investors give your startup money, they will evaluate their investment risk and potential return. A startup founder with an intellectual property (IP) strategy makes that evaluation easier.

A firm’s IP strategy and planned tactics describe the actual use of resources, for example, money, employee time, and project resources supporting the patent portfolio. The strategy and tactics describe the specific action plans and metrics allowing the startup to obtain the impact the intellectual property is expected to have in the business plan’s valuation and risk assessment presented to investors.  

One component of IP is patents. But don’t waste money on filing without a strategy. Part of the strategy development is first defining your patent intent.

The patent intent describes the kind of desired portfolio and what characteristics are required with a qualitative descriptor. Intent is comprised of 3 three primary categories: Structures, Characteristics and Types, which when combined, drive desired outcomes.

  • Structures – Structures describe the “personality” of the portfolio or how it will perform or behave.
    • For example, an aggressive portfolio will require your legal team and employees to proactively monitor and enforce your patents relative to competitive behavior.
  • Characteristics – A patent portfolio’s characteristics describe the physical properties of the portfolio such as its size, speed of patent filings etc.
    • The combination of the portfolio structures and characteristics begin to frame how your startup will operate relative to employing the portfolio as part of the startup’s operational and strategic plans.
  • Types – There are six (6) types of patent portfolios including: Defensive, Offensive, Revenue Generating, Corporate Image, Negotiating Leverage, and promoting Employee Creativity
    • Each can be employed separately or in concert to obtain a well-defined objective.

Most founders know intellectual property is vital to a company, but little know how to properly develop and execute a solid strategy. Always use legal services to file patents but founders must develop and own the strategy.

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