IP strategy for innovative start-ups and SMEs

If you are innovating, then you are creating intellectual property (IP). So are your competitors.

Many ambitious small companies recognise the importance of IP to their growing business but often lack the time and experience to implement an effective IP strategy.

When IP does reach the top of the to-do list, the focus tends to be on protection through patents, trade marks and designs, with other aspects of IP strategy including ownership, “freedom to operate” (or IP risk more generally) and unregistered IP rights being overlooked or undervalued, creating problems that are often only uncovered during due diligence when raising funds.

At The Intellectual Property Works we strongly believe that the right approach is to put in place an IP strategy (or plan) at the earliest opportunity and to revisit it regularly as a business grows or pivots.

The plan ought to address IP holistically in the context of your business, looking at IP ownership, IP risk and IP protection. However, it does not have to be complicated or jargon filled. The plan should be something that you and your investors can relate to and a plan that can be effectively and efficiently implemented in the day-to-day operations of your business.

By doing this you can extract the maximum value from your IP, manage risk presented by the IP rights of others and demonstrate to investors and other funders that you have an “investment-ready” IP position.