You have a great idea or product and you want to shout it from the rooftops, but remember that this — your intellectual property (IP) — is what investors are coming on board for, and it needs to be protected. In this post, we touch on your intellectual property rights, how your patent counsel can help, and just some of what you need to consider.
Start with an IP capital strategy, a plan aligning with the company’s capital strategy and product development plan, that sets out how you will acquire IP assets and extract the most value from any existing IP assets. Your investors will expect you to have an understanding of how your company’s IP will impact the future protection of the business. They will also want you to demonstrate how you have spent capital on your IP in the past, as well as a solid plan for IP with any future capital raise.
The return on your capital analysis for IP rights protection is critical. The definition of value is assessed in the context of business goals. Typically, there are costs that include the drafting, filing, prosecution, and maintenance of both acquiring and managing your IP. Any company would need to consider what their ROI is for any money spent on IP, and take into account any cash-flow management issues.
Below are just some of the tools and workflows your patent attorney won’t cover, that you will need to take into consideration before raising capital.
- Patent literature – compare your patent with that of other patented and patent-pending technologies. In addition to AI-based analysis, experts can perform relevant searches and provide a report on the patent landscape.
- Non-patent literature – you could also analyze non-patent literature within a similar space as the patent to undergo a patent landscape analysis or patent-mapping
- White Space Patent Analysis – ascertain from both patent literature and non-patent literature the prior landscape to help identify the gaps and opportunities by:
- Analyzing applications and identifying areas for patent expansion to find strong out-licensing opportunities
- Articulate any arguments relevant to your freedom to operate for the issued patents and associated divisions and counterparts
- Assess and define a strategy for patent prosecution and additional claims
- Invention strategy – assist with inventive ideas around the patent that could become the basis for future applications within the same patent family, such as a continuation or divisional applications, and enhance the intellectual property position for the current patents
- Licensing strategy – wherever applicable, identify any patents with potential for enhancing your intellectual property portfolio and to help expand into new markets