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ONE Key Secret – How to Think About Your Business IP Strategy
Many businesses seek advice when beginning to form an intellectual property (IP) strategy. There are countless business books devoted to business strategy, just as there are IP counsel who have been tasked with defining the IP strategy for their clients.
Business strategy books often offer cookie cutter solutions that resemble fad diets for business: Here, now, for the first time, the ONE secret to developing a comprehensive IP strategy for every business can be revealed!
Reading about strategies that other companies have used and succeeded with can provide inspiration and teach you principles to use, but their strategies will more likely try to sell you something that you already have – your own business plan.
When it comes down to it, a business strategy is a combination of your articulated goals aligned with the tactics your company will endeavor to achieve those goals.
An intellectual property (IP) strategy is the plan for generating and using your IP to reach those business goals.
The two strategies can – and should – be in alignment so that they work together.
Your IP strategy has to be based on the business strategy that led to the development of your IP. Experienced business people know that any strategy is shaped from the context of their situation to the moment the business is in.
Your goals may stay the same, but responding to circumstances will change your tactics over time, in ways both big and small.
Many people seem to hope that their IP strategy will be a single static entity - something that can be completed once and finalized. However, your IP strategy must evolve. As your business strategy necessarily changes over time, your IP strategy must change as well.
A core IP strategy should start out linked closely to your business strategy.
If you are just starting out: your strategy for obtaining IP is to protect what you identify as your key advantage, which you will need to give yourself flexibility in choosing partners to help fund your growth.
If you are growing and generating potentially innovative IP: your IP strategy should focus on how to use your IP to protect your advantages -either by stopping or extracting license fees from others who want your technology.
If you are already an established player: your IP strategy may be to use non-core assets as resource capital to leverage into new areas -or widen your connections to your own ecosystem.
No matter what stage your business is in, IP can be used simply to reduce competitive risks to your overall business.
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