Intellectual Property remains the cornerstone of all start-ups, whether they are dealing with cutting edge technology or creative and artistic works. These intellectual properties in the beginning reside as intellectual capital in employee’s brain. The success story of a startup depends upon the ability of the startup to facilitate the conversion of this intellectual capital into intellectual properties, which gives them a competitive advantage.
The most challenging task for a startup is to survive in a hostile environment with scarce resources. While for larger businesses funds are available in plenty, it becomes a challenge for an entrepreneur to prioritize and allocate optimal funds to each and every aspect of the business. It is important to remember that not all forms of intellectual capital can be converted to commercially viable intellectual property that suits the needs of the business. With a limited amount of fund, it is an unintelligent exercise to convert all the intellectual capital into intellectual properties, as creating intellectual property is a costly affair.
Therefore, it is important to create a mechanism to separate the wheat from the chaff and create high quality intellectual properties which can maximize the business value. This is the juncture at which there is need of a robust intellectual property strategy.
Further, certain key aspects of integrating useful intellectual property practices in day to day business of an organization is essential for establishing an intellectual property driven culture and securing a high quality intellectual property portfolio.
Intellectual Property Strategy acts as a link between the management of intellectual property and the business objectives. A rational IP Strategy is tailored according to the specific needs and capabilities of the organization and lays down the roadmap which on execution by the management produces an effective and valuable Intellectual Property Portfolio.
Intellectual Property Strategy seeks to achieve the following objectives:-
- Creating a robust system for streamlining worthy ideas which can be converted to Intellectual Property
- Giving support to long-term product development goals, not just ad-hoc innovations
- Setting up a system for analyzing Intellectual Property held by others to gather competitive intelligence that provides an informed understanding about the competitor’s position and strategy and saving yourself from surprises like infringing upon the patents of a competitor
- Saving resources in filing for patents which are not inclined with business objectives
- Standing out amongst other startups and getting the attention of investors who understands and values the sophisticated manner in which Intellectual Property should be handled
- Create awareness amongst employees regarding intellectual property and how valuable IP can be lost if adequate standards of secrecy are not maintained
Key Considerations in formulating an Intellectual Property Strategy
While formulating an intellectual property strategy, any business and a start-up in particular must keep some considerations in mind before they put the draft on the table. The considerations are:-
- Identification of the organizations that are holding the fundamentally important patents in the technological space in which the business is operating.
- The pace at which innovation is taking place in the specific technological area and how are other organizations adapting to that.
- The chances of forming strategic alliance with other organizations to invest or license in the technological space.
- The internal culture of the organization and how to integrate intellectual property as an integral part of that culture.
Role of an intellectual property professional in formulating IP Strategy
Formulating an effective Intellectual Property Strategy requires the expert knowledge of important internal practices which successful corporations follow throughout the world. Further, these practices should be affordable and aligned with the business objectives of the organization which would help the organization in creating a valuable intellectual property portfolio.
It is recommended that for creating a robust intellectual property strategy, the business owner must take the help of an experienced attorney who can help in crafting the perfect strategy which is absolutely in line with the business objectives which the organization wishes to achieve.