Intellectual Property and Strategy

The various forms of intellectual property are essential assets for your company. Learn about using selected forms of IP strategically in concert with your business plan.

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FOUNDER GENIUS VIDEOS

SUGGESTED READINGS

  • Founders School || Intellectual Property || Intellectual Property and Strategy || Impact Guide (PDF).

  • Dickson, Mark, ed. Marketing Your Invention, 3rd Ed. New York: American Bar Association, 2009.

  • Fahmi, Tarek N. Aligning IP Portfolios with Business Objectives, 2010.

  • Razgatitis, Richard. Early-Stage Technologies: Valuation and Pricing. New York: Wiley, 2003.

  • Palfrey, John. Intellectual Property Strategy. The MIT Press: Cambridge, MA. 2012.

  • TRANSCRIPT

    Founding a company is an exciting time.  It's a busy time.  And there's a lot on your plate.  One of the things you have to pay attention to is intellectual property.  I know it's a little bit geeky, but it's important to your business.  It's important to the success of your business and you have to pay attention to it really in two respects.  The first is if you care to think of it as offense.  You need to be developing your own arsenal of IP assets that you can use to defend your position in the marketplace.  The other side, think of it as defense, if you like.  You need to pay attention to avoiding infringement of other people's intellectual property.  They're smart people too, and they are working hard.  And they are developing their own arsenal of I.P. assets just to give you a problem.  A recent study found that over half of patent lawsuit defendants have annual revenues of less than $10 million.  So if you think that you're below the radar screen and you won't get noticed you're wrong.  They will find you.  They will come after you.  And that's a distraction and an expense that you need to avoid.  So paying attention to your own I.P. assets, paying attention to avoiding the infringement of others' I.P. assets, these are the things that you need to pay attention to along with everything else you've got going on as you develop your product and your company.  


    So what do we mean by I.P. or intellectual property?  Well, there are a number of different forms of intellectual property.  But what I want you to have in mind is intellectual property has to be developed in accordance with a strategy, an I.P. strategy.  Your I.P. strategy has to support your business plan.  As your business plan mutates and develops, your I.P. strategy has to follow along.  It's not an end in and of itself.  Your IP strategy is a support vehicle for your business plan.  


    Intellectual property assets are going to be vitally important for your company.  And you have to have in mind that not properly created and protected and used, intellectual property assets can be lost.  You can't afford to lose assets in a company, I.P. assets especially.  So we want to pay attention to creating them and protecting them and using them properly.  


    You know most of the forms of intellectual property.  You've heard them and you may be very familiar with them.  The primary forms are patents, copyrights, trade secrets, trademarks and contract rights.  You'll have contracts with suppliers, with customers, with others, with employees.  These contract rights really are in the nature of intellectual property rights.  We'll understand that better.  The point you have to have in mind is that integrating these various forms of intellectual property together is far more powerful than any one alone.  


    You need to work with counsel to determine which forms of intellectual property protection are most suitable for your company and your budget and how to integrate them together, maybe some patents together with some copyrights and some trademarks.  


    So what are we going to do to get you in good shape on the I.P. front?  We're going to have an intellectual property strategy in place for your company.  We're going to have a strategy in place to capture and protect and use your intellectual property assets properly.  And we're going to have a strategy in place for avoiding the intellectual property assets of others.