Should Your IP Strategy Be Offensive or Defensive?

Your patents can be valuable for both offensive and defensive reasons. Used offensively, patents can  generate licensing revenue and, sometimes, damages awards via litigation.  Patents can also be used defensively to make it less attractive for a competitor to sue for infringement or block a competitor out of a market.

Whether you are a start up company or a Fortune 500  corporation, having a cohesive, well thought out strategy to protect your intellectual property is critical.   It is the key to effective patent management.  To help you get there, we’ll start by reviewing the very reasons that drove you to seek IP protection in the first place…whether that is a patent, trademark, copyright or trade secret. 

Some of these reasons often include the need to:

      • Protect income streams
      • Recover/leverage R&D investment
      • Gain a competitive advantage
      • Box in a competitor’s position
      • Increase equity value
      • Attract investors
      • Prepare a company for sale

With a firm understanding of why you want to protect your IP assets, we will help you craft the perfect IP strategy. The process normally involves three undertakings; (1) Making sure we fully understand your business’ goals; (2)  reviewing the technical landscape; and (3) Conducting a comprehensive IP audit that includes evaluating your trademarks, copyrights and trade secrets as well as your patents.

Taking the time upfront to do your homework by conducting a comprehensive IP Audit can pay real dividends down the road including identifying your most valuable IP assets, maximizing your competitive advantage in the marketplace, leveraging patent clusters, finding aging patents that can be licensed to create a new revenue stream, finding potential grounds for patent assertion and anticipating challenges to your patents and more.

Sometimes the best strategy is offensive. Sometimes its defensive…or a combination of the two.  Also, sometimes, after carefully reviewing the situation, it becomes clear that a product will not be adequately protected by a patent so pursuing one no longer makes sense. In some situations,  protecting your innovation can be better achieved using trade secret law rather than a patent. 

Our goal is to help you better understand your patent portfolio and positioning in the market to maintain or increase profitability. By truly understanding your IP portfolio you’ll know which investments need  protection and which ones are no longer critical and could be licensed to create a new revenue stream.  Having a well-thought out IP strategy  can also help you use patents to block competitors that challenge your market position.

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