IP STRATEGY IS ALL ABOUT HAVING A PLAN: VISUALISING AN END POINT AND CONCENTRATING ON WHAT NEEDS TO BE DONE TO GET THERE.
At Hutchinson IP, we take a holistic approach to IP and try to provide clear and objective advice. We realise that so much IP is wasted through lack of exploitation or because it was obtained without any real forethought as to how it could be used to serve a commercially useful purpose.
Our approach differs from that of most firms because we believe the most important question to ask when devising an IP strategy should be “why?”, rather than “what?” or “how?”. In short, if you are not clear about why you need or want IP, then the mechanics and law behind what you can protect and how to go about it are irrelevant. Our approach focuses on what your business needs are now, and what you hope they will be in the future. We then work out how to get the optimum level of protection that does just what you need it to, with the least possible fuss, sideshow and, of course, cost. It’s really that simple -once you’re clear about your objectives and milestones, the IP strategy can be worked out to fit with that “route map”.
Ultimately, we believe that IP is just a tool to achieve an objective, and by focusing on the “end game”, we can add real value by deploying IP strategically to deliver specific goals.
Our strategic IP review usually involves:
Gaining an understanding of where your business is now, and where you want to be at a certain future point in time. Only when we fully understand the personal and commercial objectives, can we move forward with purpose – towards a known goal or milestone.
Looking at what your competitors are doing from a commercial and IP perspective to identify possible obstacles that might block you getting from A to B. This stage usually involves trying to gain a real understanding of the IP landscape, that is, auditing the IP that you already have, and reviewing where it sits in relation to the technology under consideration. It may be that your existing IP portfolio does not adequately protect your business, in which case, further IP rights may be needed. At the other end of the spectrum, you may be wasting money on IP that adds little value to your business, in which case an IP cull may be needed to save costs.
Devising an IP strategy that gets you the protection and/or clearance you need. We may need to do some searching to get a better understanding of what IP is out there that may impede progress towards your goals. In certain cases, a competitor’s IP may potentially “block” your progress and in that situation, we may need to consider an attacking strategy to try to neutralise the problem.
Investigating ways to exploit your IP or market position and identifying possible exit points along the way. In one example, your company may have developed a technology that it is unable to market effectively, and would like to partner-up with another company better placed to bring that technology to market. In such a situation, you may need non-disclosure agreements to enable your to have frank discussions with third parties, whilst retaining ownership and control of your IP. You may wish to consider using licenses so that your chosen partners can move the project forward, or maybe you a cross-license is that benefits both parties. You may just want to selling-off certain IP or business assets to free up cash for internal investment. In this case, formal, written assignments may be necessary.
Our strategic approach is ingrained in everything we do. We don’t sell IP, we deliver solutions to real commercial problems. We also offer stand-alone strategic IP consulting on a day-rate basis, and would be pleased to answer any questions you may have about this service. For more information about this service and for pricing options please contact us.