- lock down and protect your and secure your intellectual property rights
- know what you can protect and what you can’t
- avoid mistakes exploiting your intellectual property
- license intellectual property in ways that will not come back to bite you
- set yourself up to handle tough negotiations with clear objectives
Transactions involving intellectual property can complicate quickly. Sometimes pointlessly. Basic concepts complicate when competing parties claim stake in the rights for their business.
The problems that can arise are real. Dealings with IP should fit within the legal structures provided by the applicable intellectual property legal rights which will protect your business.
How do problems arise?
Businesses that harness risk avoid problems. Problems mature when:
- intellectual property has not been managed properly – you might know what you have, but cannot define it clearly or communicate it easily to others in legal documentation
- the different types of protection offered by each of the intellectual property rights have been confused
- businesses become unable to chase perfectly justified claims because the intellectual property rights were:
- not what they thought them to be
- not handled in a way readily recognised by the law
- designed to make legal claims uneconomic or difficult to pursue in the first place
- ambiguity between who owns IP rights which were created before, during and after licence agreements and assignments seep into contracts
- statements made about your position shut down options further down the line, and come back to haunt you
- claims are made by a business partner that they own all the intellectual property that the business has developed
When the time comes to license or acquire intellectual property rights, the terms and legal structures you use should fit your business. Doing so usually avoids and minimises confusion, misunderstandings and subsequent disputes. It also makes for more effective business. All sorts of problems are avoided. Business is hard enough without legal problems.
Sometimes too much damage has been done. It becomes more difficult to recover your position.
Simple steps are able to be taken to avoid most problems that can arise
Secure your Intellectual Property Rights
- Identify the intellectual property rights in assets and who owns them with an IP audit and due diligence, so that they can be properly commercialised
- Shore up the value gained from research and development
- Advise on what assets can be protected and how, and maximise the IP protection to enhance their value
- Draw together different forms of legal protection to avoid heavy reliance on just one form of IP protection where available
- Take steps to register rights, and if not registrable take steps to deter abuse of your rights
- Register trade marks as a warning to other businesses to avoid the hassle of using your business name, product or service name
- Identify and catalogue different types of intellectual property for exploitation
- Assess the strength of your intellectual property rights to avoid mistakes and misunderstandings that lead to harmful business decisions
Steps such as these enhance the assets value of your business, and improve appeal to investors and purchasers, and open gateways to new markets.