Following on my previous post of IP management…
While some continue to scream about software licensing, and argue that since the patenting process is fraught with issues, we should give up on managing IP, I will continue to argue in the opposite direction, that IP management is one of the most important job for a start-up CEO.
The difficult question is “how much effort/money/time/people should be invested on the company IP strategy and how to ensure that those efforts are well spend”
My experience has been that is very difficult to find a good law firm in Europe that understands how to strategically manage IP, but I’m still looking (if you have any referral please contact me…)
Two interesting articles can be found on
The key steps for managing IP (described in the links above) can be summaries as :
1. Business and Patent Portfolio Goals
Starting in the development phase, the patent strategy identifies the key business goals of the company. Clear business goals provide a long-term blueprint to guide the development of a valuable patent portfolio. In particular, the company should:
2. Evaluation of Company Assets
The evaluation process begins by mining and analyzing intellectual assets within the company. In this process, a company organizes and evaluates all of its intellectual assets, such as its products, services, technologies, processes, and business practices. Organizing intellectual assets involves working with key executives to align the patent strategy with the business objectives.
3. Procurement Phase
While the evaluation phase is in progress, the company can move into the procurement phase. In the procurement phase of the patent strategy, a start-up company builds its patent portfolio to protect core technologies, processes, and business practices uncovered during the evaluation phase. Typically, a patent portfolio is built with a combination of crown-jewel patents, fence patents, design-around patents, and portfolio enhancing patents. Each patent may have a unique value proposition for the company.
4. Deployment Phase
A company that values its intellectual assets may set aside time, money and resources to further enhance its patent portfolio. To do this a company may move to the deployment phase. The deployment phase may include licensing all or part of a patent portfolio to others in the industry or to alternative applications for the technology. Alternatively, it may include asserting rights established by its patents, such as through litigation. The deployment stage often includes high-level management involvement.