Startup companies must assess and protect their IP assets early on

Startup companies need to protect their intellectual property and set up safeguards so that others’ IP is not infringed. Borrowing somewhat from Jay Mandal and Nitin Gupta of LawPivot and their 5-step plan for new businesses to use in developing such a strategy, here is a checklist of some elements critical to a successful patent strategy.

  1. Give each employee in a position to innovate a disclosure form and set up a process for reporting and documenting discoveries, and be meticulous in organizing and preserving the documentation;
  2. Make sure that employees and contractors have a contractual obligation to assign all of their rights to any inventions they develop in the course of their work to your startup;
  3. Create a team to quickly evaluate new inventions.  Technology transfer specialists are increasingly relying on ktMINE’s royalty rate finder to help at this stage;
  4. Engage patent counsel in making the appropriate filings for patents and for setting up the appropriate safeguards for trade secrets;
  5. Incentivize innovators to innovate.
The strategy is useful to valuation analysts as well as they work to determine how committed a target company is to its IP, how far down the protection continuum it stands, and what steps have been taken to insure continual innovation.