Emerging Companies and Intellectual Property Attorneys

by Rich Coffman on May 8, 2013

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Intellectual Property (IP) like patents, trademarks and copyrights are some of the most valuable assets a company can own. A properly cultivated patent portfolio can be valuable to companies in any industry where technology is involved.

This article is for those who already know that obtaining an intellectual property attorney is essential to their business. When looking for a competent IP attorney to assist with IP law, patent development and protection there are some important topics that should be understood before deciding on who to work with.

Your IP Attorney

Some patent attorneys will either work on an hourly rate or flat rate for filing a patent application. Some use automated software and some do not. Some patent attorneys who file patent applications have amazing insight into IP strategy and some do not. Simply hiring a patent attorney to file a patent is a start but is in no way a complete solution to your business being successful, especially if you are an emerging company.

Emerging Companies

In the early stages of a company, one of that company’s most valuable assets is its intellectual property. These IP assets need to be identified, managed and protected. Intellectual property can in many instances be used as collateral to leverage financing and credit for continued development vital to success.

IP Strategy

To develop and bolster IP assets, it is important to implement a flexible intellectual property strategy. The strategy should take into account and proactively integrate with the company’s marketing plan and technology activities.

An IP strategy includes the concept of securing, looking after and leveraging the company’s technology with its operational activities. A well designed strategy will provide the company with a wider range of legal options, both offensive and defensive, to protect its IP assets as the company grows and continues to progress.

In-House IP Counsel

No doubt having an in-house IP counsel is ideal, however not all companies can afford a full time IP attorney. Some IP attorneys are flexible and act as an IP consultant to a company’s legal counsel. They will provide strategic advice and act to identify, leverage and nurture that company’s IP assets.

On-Demand IP Services

Sometimes an IP attorney can act in an on-demand format for emerging companies that don’t yet have a strong capital reserve. When resources are limited, the IP strategy should be focused so as not to be spread too thin on multiple fronts.

IP Services

Find an IP attorney who has experience in all major aspects of intellectual property law. Former patent litigators and former in-house IP attorneys usually are very well rounded and capable of providing all necessary legal services. Who ever your company brings on needs to have skills in these following areas.

Patent Portfolios

Strategic patent portfolio development depends on a company’s short term goals and long term objectives. Beyond that, a company’s resources will determine how many patents to file. Larger companies have the resources to file more patents while smaller companies need to choose wisely what patents they focus on. A strategic forward thinking IP attorney can help in effectively using limited resources for creating the most valuable portfolio.

Due Diligence

An intellectual property evaluation is important for acquisition and mergers. If your company is proceeding with a merger or acquisition to acquire new products and/or technology, it is a good idea to pause and conduct an analysis of the intellectual property value and risks related to the transfer of assets.

Investors will sometimes want to have a strong analysis of your IP assets prior to investing in your company. Having this done ahead of time will show investors that your intellectual property assets are all in order to help with investor’s willingness to buy in.

Trademark Registration

Brand recognition undoubtedly affects the success of commercial products. Trademark law is what protects your brand. Because of this, a company’s trademarks are commonly a very valuable IP asset. Trademarks help with company and product recognition, reputation and brand loyalty – they must be registered and protected.

IP Monetization

An IP attorney should be able to help Identify, develop and utilize your company’s intangible IP assets. The right attorney can help incorporate monetization into an overall IP strategy and help a company monetize its intellectual property concurrently with the execution of its other operational activities. Being proactive like this can result in additional profits.

Freedom-To-Operate (FTO)

An essential function of an IP attorney is to minimize the any legal risks potentially associated with product development. Commonly referred to as IP clearance, FTO minimizes the potential infringement on third-party IP rights that could prevent the business from making, using and/or selling a product.

Technology Transactions

An IP attorney is vital whenever a company buys, sells, or licenses technology. A company will benefit in the long run when an IP attorney helps prepare and negotiate IP and technology related intellectual property rights agreements. They also can assist with the allocation of warranties, indemnities, damages, disclaimers, and limitations of liability.

Litigation Management

The threat of litigation increases as an emerging company grows. Intellectual property rights are enforced by competitors to maintain a possible commercial competitive advantage.

Even the threat of IP litigation can be expensive. Litigation is disruptive, and potentially crippling to the day-to-day operations of a company. An experienced IP litigation manager will reduce the potential distraction and help create the best litigation strategy.

A Strategy for Success

No matter what the company’s resources are, if that company deals with technology in anyway, they should invest in an experienced IP attorney. The proper development of an IP strategy will align a company with their long term goals. A company is exposed on multiple levels without an accurately devised and well executed IP strategy.

Rich Coffman lives and writes in Boulder County on the front range of Colorado, a hub for innovation. He works with Brian Lefort, Esq. of Lefort IP Law in Boulder. Don’t hesitate to contact him if you would like to learn more about intellectual property law.

Rich Coffman
Rich Coffman lives and writes in Boulder County on the front range of Colorado, a hub for innovation. He works with Brian Lefort, Esq. of Lefort IP Law in Boulder.
Rich Coffman

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