The Basics of an IP Strategy for Small Businesses
Rachel Wheeler
/SOURCE : Yicai
The Basics of an IP Strategy for Small Businesses

(Yicai Global) June 19 -- When a company innovates or creates, it builds value. But, without an IP strategy, that organization is not realizing the full potential of their intellectual property. Many small businesses fail to implement an IP strategy because they think that it's only helpful to the biggest players in the market, which is simply not true.

Intellectual property is an asset and it needs to be safeguarded. Even beyond protecting IP, it is an advantage that needs to be exploited to its full potential, and businesses need to implement a strategy that will help them in continuing to research and develop new IP that can add value. Along with that, a good IP strategy promotes and encourages innovation in the workplace.

Global patent filings have been steadily increasing for the last seven years, with an 8.3% growth in 2016 making it a record year for filings. The IP licensing market is worth $45 billion in the United States alone, and it is only expected to grow in coming years.

Companies that recognize the value of intellectual property and strategize accordingly are going gain a significant competitive advantage. Additionally, small businesses that are considering expanding abroad or hiring international talent should look to partner with a translations professional in order to ensure patents protect them no matter where they take their business. Here are some of the basics that can help small businesses as they try to develop an IP strategy.

Developing an IP Strategy

A company's approach to intellectual property management will vary depending on its size and industry. The first step in developing an IP strategy is to sort out your company's needs, and what it hopes to achieve with its intellectual property.

You will need to do an IP audit to establish what you have and what may need to be protected. You should also undergo some level of IP valuation so you can determine which IP assets are worth protecting.

A monetization strategy is another important aspect of getting the most value out of intellectual property. How does your company plan to generate revenue with its IP? Some intellectual property is sold outright for a profit, while in other cases there might be licensing agreements. Situations may also arise in which organizations share IP through a collaborative relationship.

Research and development are important parts of any IP strategy. What is your company's plan to encourage the development of new intellectual property that can then be used to add more value to the company? Beyond strategizing for this, you also need a plan for integrating any additional IP in with the existing business plan.

Finally, you need to develop a plan for protecting your IP in foreign markets. This is not only to protect your intellectual property from misuse, but it can also work as a way to develop a new stream of income from overseas licensing and sales.

Creating an IP Strategy Document

Once you have an IP strategy, you can then get to work on implementation. A good way to begin is to create a document that lays out the entire IP strategy. This is a record that can inform employees on the management approach; it can also work as a way to keep the IP goals and needs in the minds of the people for which they are relevant.

A good IP strategy document will outline the organization's aims for intellectual property management. It will also state the challenges and issues that will need to be addressed if the company is going to reach these  goals. Furthermore, it will identify the ways in which the company plans to overcome these challenges and reach its objectives.

Beyond clearly stating the IP goals of the company and addressing challenges, it should also provide an evaluation of the organization's current IP assets and the opportunities that exist for exploiting them. You also want to talk about the potential for future IP development and provide ideas for how the company can move forward with its IP strategy.

To ensure the successful implantation of your IP strategy, it can help to have a department that is dedicated to IP management. In addition to that, you need to recognize that an IP strategy can change with time. An IP strategy should continuously receive reviews and updates as the needs of the company evolve.

[Disclaimer: Yicai Global is committed to providing an open forum to air a diverse range of views. The opinions expressed herein are the author's alone. Yicai Global has redacted this article to conform to our style and usage guidelines, but neither validates its factual nor endorses its editorial content.]

 

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Keywords: IP Strategy