Once you have filed your patents, trademarks and copyrights you are attaining and acquiring exclusive rights to your unique ideas. In other words, you are creating intellectual property (or IP for short.) This newly acquired IP is a great way to fend off copycats, but it takes meticulous strategy and seamless execution to “strike gold” with the figurative IP pick. Read more about these three ways to make it rich with your IP below.
1. Get an Investor’s Attention
In a startup, intangible assets – like patents – typically create the majority of the company’s value. This is why potential investors will swarm to the promise of a sustainable competitive edge brought on by a great IP portfolio (collection of IP owned by a single entity).
To an investor, the more protected assets you own that can cushion your startup, the merrier. Coming up with this grand list of brilliant assets to patent, copyright or trademark will require you to think outside of the box.
For example, you will want to keep in mind that you do not only patent technology. You can also patent the ornamental design of your invention by filing a design patent. Also consider trademarking slogans and hashtags along with your brand name.
When listing out potential ideas for securing your rights, be sure not to overlook smaller features, since you never know which ideas could be valuable. The key is to also evaluate every intangible asset. It’s better to be safe than sorry.
Once you have identified your assets (hopefully you have more than one), be sure to consult a lawyer, to ensure your assets are valid and worth chasing. Then, once you have qualified these assets, be sure to protect them.
Remember: These assets are what give you a competitive edge, but they mean nothing without protection – especially to an investor.
2. Grow Your Business
In order to achieve your full-growth potential, your startup and your IP portfolio’s growth should go hand-in-hand.
To accomplish this synchronized growth, you need to be conscious of any new features you add or improve upon. Also try to recognize the value of new slogans.
Most importantly, be sure to protect these assets as soon as you identify them. This tactic will supplement your company’s growth by steering away competition. In other words, you’ll be less likely to have a copycat.
3. Licensing Your IP
After receiving funding and growing your startup with an expanded IP portfolio, you can continue to “harvest gold” (aka equity) at an exponential rate by licensing your IP.
Licensing your IP is when you grant a licensee certain rights to your IP in exchange for an agreed upon form of compensation. For example, a common type of IP license is the kind you receive when you purchase a copy of software to use in your business.
Your startup can receive cash for your IP when you consider your compensation options for licensing out your rights to your IP. This can include a set fee or a royalty. For instance, you can even set up an option where you collect royalties on every product that uses your IP license. This means more cash rolling in – most likely at an exponential rate.
Keep in mind: When you sign into a licensing agreement, the terms are agreed upon during negotiation. You are allowed to set certain criteria to protect you as the IP owner. For example, you can limit the licensee to using the patent for only a specific amount of time or in a certain region.
This allows you to protect your competitive advantage over the market while still capitalizing on the benefits of licensing your IP.
In conclusion, owning intellectual property is more than just preventing infringers from stealing your ideas. If managed correctly, you can capitalize on your IP in a way that builds and sustains your startup’s growth exponentially.