“Intangibles have grown from filling 20% of corporate balance sheets to 80%, due in large part to the expanding nature, and rising importance, of intangibles as represented by intellectual capital vs. bricks-and-mortar, research and development vs. capital spending, services vs. manufacturing, and the list goes on.” How Intangible Assets Are Affecting Company Value In The Stock Market, Forbes, 2017.
Every business has intellectual property. But, most businesses treat it as an afterthought. Someone invents a new product and you might think about patent protection. Someone develops a new trademark or logo and you might think about trademark protection. Or you launch a new product or service and you get invited to a lawsuit because no one checked for infringement.
You Can’t Ignore Intellectual Property Protection
If you don’t have a system to recognize, collect and protect your Intellectual Property, you will lose valuable assets. There are four types of IP:
- trade secrets and
Each of these has specific requirements for protection. If you don’t meet them, they are lost. You must manage your IP.
Examples of what it can cost you.
A $5 million investment lost. Recently, an investor wanted to invest $5 million in a company. He wanted to be sure the intellectual property was well managed. The IP list included unregistered trademarks and copyrights and patents in different company names. It was a mess. The investor passed on the investment. With proper management this would not have happened.
Are investors looking at your portfolio and passing on investment? This can be avoided with an IP management system.
Other examples are lost patents because they were not filed in time. Lawsuits requiring companies to change their name, years after opening their doors. Getting invited to a lawsuit for failing to investigate whether your product infringes patents. Loss of copyrights because you didn’t take the necessary steps.
How Do You Protect Your IP?
You need a system that brings your IP out of the shadows and into the light.
- First, your team needs to recognize that you have IP and it is valuable.
- Second, you need a collection process for collecting all of your potential IP and projects to review for infringement concerns.
- Last, you need to meet with your IP counsel at least quarterly to review your portfolio and what you collected and to review.
IP has never been more valuable. Your business needs to take advantage of its IP. You need a system that is:
- nearly automatic,
- takes very little time to implement, and
- ensures your IP will be protected and you will be protected from infringement.
You cannot wait. You could be losing IP at this moment. Implement your system today.
About the Author:
Bill Honaker, “The IP Guy” is a former USPTO Examiner, a partner with Dickinson-Wright, and author of the forthcoming book, Invisible Assets – How to Maximize the Hidden Value in Your Business. To download a sample chapter, click here.
I provide a 1/2-day workshop to get you started, give me a call. The workshop includes:
- A custom presentation for your business.
- Pre-meeting with your key people.
- IP Review and analysis of your IP.
- Review of your competitors.
- Real stories to illustrate the importance of IP in your business.
- Work book for participants.
- Copies of my book for all participants, Turn Your Ideas to Gold, The Business Owners Guide to Intellectual Property.
- A Customized Game plan to get full value from your IP.