Do you have an IPR strategy?
A well thought-out strategy for this can give your business an important and lasting competitive edge. Correct use of these rights will then be just as important to commercial success as funding, marketing and sales.
An IPR strategy provides guidelines for how intangible assets can be identified and, where relevant, protected, maintained, defended and exploited for business purposes.
Businesses with effective IPR strategies equate their intellectual property rights (patents, trademarks and designs) with other assets in their accounts.
What assets does the company have?
Start by mapping your company's intangible resources. Which of these are the most important for achieving your business goals? Is there anything missing? Get an overview of who owns the key assets. It is also important to highlight intangible assets in the accounts, and for owners, partners and other stakeholders.
What can intellectual property and rights be used for?
- Obtaining revenue. This can, for example, be created through products and services as well as through licensing and the sale of rights.
- Raising capital. Rights are important as documentation and security for investors, banking institutions and other sources of finance.
- Collaborating. For example collaboration between companies, through the establishment of joint ventures or open innovation.
- Reducing costs and risks when collaborating with others.
- Securing a position in the market. This can secure room for technological development, block competitors, control the value chain and build a reputation.
How should the company handle intangible assets?
- Establish internal routines that generate ideas from your own employees, and ensure ownership of these ideas is established. Does management know what skills the employees have? It is also important to clarify what the company owns and what the employee can take with them. There is a need for agreements, guidelines and procedures for reporting employee inventions, routines for reviewing assets of strategic importance and the extent of protection required, routines for reviewing the portfolio for renewal, following up competitors, routines for infringements, etc.
- Does the company have good routines for keeping trade secrets? Ensure good information security and confidentiality, and enter into agreements with your employees, and with consultants and subcontractors of the company. Certain requirements must be met for information to be considered a trade secret, and it is important that the company knows what these are and follows them.
- Identify what the company can do without infringing the rights of others (freedom to operate). Find out what others have done and what you can build on and improve without infringing these rights.
- Register your rights: secure patents, trademarks and design protection.
- Be sure to exploit your rights commercially.
- Monitor important competitors to see what they are doing, and monitor others to see if they are infringing your company's rights.
- Enforce your rights. Decide how this should be done and seek expert assistance.
Listing of professional patent agencies
For a listing of the various patent agencies and ways in which they can assist you, you can use the professional adviser database on the website iprhjelp.no. (This website is in Norwegian)