David J. Arthur, Intellectual Property Strategy

Aligning Intellectual Property and Business Strategies

Intellectual property rights can be used to meet many different business objectives.  Most people recognize that they can use intellectual property rights to stop direct competitors from taking their inventions, business information, and business identity.

But, intellectual property rights can also be used for many other purposes. Each purpose may lead to a different strategy for protecting your intellectual property.

Intellectual property includes
patents, trade secrets, trademarks, and copyrights. Each has its own uses to help with company strategy. Patents often attract the most attention and the most budget.

Just getting patents on what you invent probably won’t get you the business success you want. Decisions on which inventions to patent, where to patent (which countries), how much to spend on getting (and maintaining) those patents, what instructions to give to your patent attorneys and agents, determine whether your patents will help you meet your business goals.

Getting the “wrong” patents, spending too much (or too little) time on getting patents undermines your goals by wasting money - money that could otherwise be spent getting the “right” patents.

Getting the “right” patents requires knowing why you are getting the patent. How (and with whom) do you intend to use it? Is that use realistic? What are the risks of that use? There are many ways to use patents other than suing a competitor to stop the competitor from making or selling a product similar to yours.