Of course, this a rhetorical question but it does beg the more reasonable question: what is the value of your IP? Simply put, valuing IP is a multi-disciplinary process involving evidence-based judgements of market value, combined with assessments of how a particular market(s) might perform in the future and backed up by rigorous due diligence of the ownership and the science underpinning the IP.
So, it all stacks up and you have a valuation of your IP based on a complex combination of knowns and unknows that doesn’t take into account the possibility that your IP may well be critical in opening up an area of science or technology hitherto unknown and by definition un-exploited for the benefit of mankind (including you!). Can this eventuality be built into the Valuation equation? Clearly not, but there are prudent steps you can take and approaches that you can adopt, subsequently, that may enable you to exploit that eventuality.
You go through the patenting process and you are, finally, granted a world-wide patent on your invention. The key, at this point, is to be ahead of the game and stay there! Not an easy task, I know, because patent protection doesn’t end with possession, it is a continuous process that can last the lifetime of a patent. Patent protection involves a mixture of realising the value of your patent via your everyday work to bring your invention to the market and policing the areas where your patent has a position or might have an influence. People steal ideas and people infringe patents and you need to have ways of identifying and dealing with both. Patents are challenged all the time and it is best to have a strategy that keeps you best placed to repel the challenge or defend your casino internet corner. Keeping abreast of the scientific literature (both old and new!) is key in this regard and having people in your corner who know how to mine scientific and patent databases in a comprehensive, efficient and effective manner will help you to keep ahead of the game. This evidence-based process can also help you to identify your competition and who you need to keep your eye on.
This brings us back to the knowns and unknowns, both in terms of future developments and future competition, how best to deal with them? A flexible attitude to business may be a sensible approach where your patent position might be useful in forging collaborations with competitors and exploiting new opportunities to unlock previously unseen value in your IP. Too busy for collaboration? The wise approach here may be to adopt a flexible licensing policy where your patent position is used by others in a way that benefits you by opening up and expanding markets that you may not otherwise be in a position to exploit.
So, an effective, evidence-based, patent protection strategy and a flexible business model will help keep you ahead of the game. At Pivotal Scientific we have experts in data mining and licensing who will help you to protect your position, identify potential competitors as business opportunities and help you to make the deals that ensure your IP is, in fact, worth more than the paper it’s written on.
This is a guest post by Pivotal”s IP consultant Tom Flanigan: if you have any questions please do email him at firstname.lastname@example.org or visit Pivotal”s IP and Licensing page for more information.