Get an expert to protect your intellectual property
Avoid problems with intellectual property and stay in control of your business
- lock down and protect your and secure your intellectual property rights
- Know what you can protect and what you can't
- Avoid mistakes exploiting your intellectual property
- License intellectual property in ways that will not come back to bite you
- set yourself up to handle tough negotiations with clear objectives
Transactions involving intellectual property can complicate quickly. Sometimes pointlessly. Basic concepts complicate when competing parties claim stake in the rights for their business.
The problems that can arise are real. Dealings with IP should fit within the legal structures provided by the applicable intellectual property legal rights which will protect your business.
How do problems arise?
- intellectual property has not been managed properly - you might know what you have, but cannot define it clearly or communicate it easily to others in legal documentation
- the different types of protection offered by each of the intellectual property rights have been confused
- businesses become unable to chase perfectly justified claims because the intellectual property rights were:
- not what they thought them to be
- not handled in a way readily recognised by the law
- designed to make legal claims uneconomic or difficult to pursue in the first place
- ambiguity between who owns IP rights which were created before, during and after licence agreements and assignments seep into contracts
- statements made about your position shut down options further down the line, and come back to haunt you
- claims are made by a business partner that they own all the intellectual property that the business has developed
When the time comes to license or acquire intellectual property rights, the terms and legal structures you use should fit your business. Doing so usually avoids and minimises confusion, misunderstandings and subsequent disputes. It also makes for more effective business. All sorts of problems are avoided. Business is hard enough without legal problems.
Sometimes too much damage has been done. It becomes more difficult to recover your position.
Simple steps are able to be taken to avoid most problems that can arise.
When you’re licensing intellectual property, there are more types of intellectual property to be licensed, whether it is data, software, databases, or hosted software to provide the services.
Getting it wrong can mean that you believe that you are in a better position than what you actually are. It can also mean that you underrate your position and value of the intellectual property and related products and services.
With that comes the potential for wasting money and time on developing an asset which is not protected. You end up stuck with undesirable limited choices and financial instability. In the worst case, it leads to exposure to the risk of infringement proceedings and unwanted claims of breach of contract.
You can waste a lot of money and a lot of time using documents to protect your business that are not up to scratch.
It doesn’t have to be that way.
Getting it Right: Intellectual Property Rights Management
Getting it right may be a matter of adopting a different approach to preserve the intellectual property rights. It puts you in a better position if the time comes to enforce your rights.
Avoid pathways that you shouldn't go down. Adjust a contract. Express contractual intentions in a way where your legal intention is readily recognised by the law. Handle communications with customers and suppliers with some legal common sense.
Businesses avoid and minimise problems by:
- structuring licence arrangements properly to ensure consistent and predictable revenue streams
- clearing up contractual contradictions in licences and contracts at an early stage, and avoid conflicts which torpedo good claims
- avoiding under or over-licensing rights, and licensing each intellectual property right as it needs to be licensed - and going no further
- catering for ownership and licenses for IP rights created before, during and after contracts are signed
- allowing for termination of licences when designated conditions are met
Effective Intellectual Property Management
There is more to effective intellectual property management than simply protecting inventions with patents, brands with trade marks, products with designs, or creative endeavours with copyright. It is the ability to:
- commercialise inventions to create consistent revenue streams
- market brands safely so that you can do something about it easily if someone copies it
- license know-how for improved product and service delivery
- conclude contracts which will protect your business if something goes badly wrong
- expand your business into new sectors with franchising and joint venture agreements
- grow your portfolio of protectable assets to enhance the bottom line of your balance sheet.
Smart businesses understand their intellectual property rights, and the nuances of the contracts they sign. It is these nuances that we pick up on, that non-specialists advising on intellectual property miss because they do not handle these sorts of legal issues regularly.
Done properly, you reduce the scope for disputes. Disputes that do arise are more likely to be resolved without perfectly avoidable technical legal hitches.
Getting to the Right Solution for your Business
We evaluate situations, work to eliminate the worst-case scenarios, put your business in better situation for the future, and lower the risk of costly mistakes.
Our work contributes to removing confusion that plagues transactions and disputes. Your business works smarter, not harder. Deploy intellectual property rights properly and get a more profitable, efficient and valuable business.
Some of the questions we are asked are:
- What rights do I need to cover off to protect my business?
- Am I missing anything in licensing this software, data or rights to manufacture this product?
- Are these contracts handling intellectual property rights in a way that will not come back and bite me?
- Will I create problems for myself if I adopt this licensing model?
- Will doing it this way cause a dispute with my suppliers or customers or give rise to liability to someone else?
- Have I made any rookie mistakes that will backfire?
- Can I even do what I have mind without infringing someone else’s intellectual property rights?
- What do you think of this contract?
If you're trying to close a deal and not take legal advice, it may take longer if you engage a lawyer. But then, the ease with which legal rights are signed away and confused could make it the biggest mistake you've ever made. Don’t fake it and don’t cut corners. Don't use a template. It might not be applicable, or applicable in a way that might not occur to you.
How we can help:
We can make your licensing conditions fit for purpose, clearly define rights and licences to use intellectual property, and help you allocate risk to where it should lie.
Whether you want to protect your intellectual property rights to enhance business value, to prepare for investment rounds or get your business ready for sale, we can help in four ways. It does not need to cost the earth.
Secure your Intellectual Property Rights
- Identify the intellectual property rights in assets and who owns them with an IP audit and due diligence, so that they can be properly commercialised
- Shore up the value gained from research and development
- Advise on what assets can be protected and how, and maximise the IP protection to enhance their value
- Draw together different forms of legal protection to avoid heavy reliance on just one form of IP protection where available
- Take steps to register rights, and if not registrable take steps to deter abuse of your rights
- Register trade marks as a warning to other businesses to avoid the hassle of using your business name, product or service name
- Identify and catalogue different types of intellectual property for exploitation
- Assess the strength of your intellectual property rights to avoid mistakes and misunderstandings that lead to harmful business decisions
Steps such as these enhance the assets value of your business, and improve appeal to investors and purchasers, and open gateways to new markets.
Commercialise Intellectual Property Rights
- Model licensing regimes that hold up under pressure to monetize IP rights effectively
- Optimise contracts and licenses for your business, to ensure there are no shortfalls or over licensing
- Assist moving the businesses from research and development to revenue generation
- Integrate intellectual property into larger and more complex transactions, such as joint ventures and pooling of intellectual property. Make possible business ventures that would otherwise remain out of reach
- Flag up potential pitfalls in licensing agreements and contracts before they are signed.
Cover the factors that should be covered and avoid harsh conditions that might make you lose sleep. Protect your business, your livelihood and your hard work.
Enforce Intellectual Property Rights
- Maintain exclusivity of offerings against competitors
- Select cost-effective ways to tackle infringement
- Adopting methodologies to enforce rights
- Boost anti-piracy measures
- Combine types of intellectual property protection with other areas of law to maximise protection
- Oppose trade mark and design registrations applications which compromise the exclusivity of your brand
Avoid and Defend Infringement Claims
- Resolutely defend against legal claims which cannot be sustained
- Avoid the waste that comes with alleged defences to claims that cannot succeed
- Set up defences to legal claims and avoid being done over into paying out money unnecessarily for malicious attacks on the business
- Minimise the damage caused by legitimate intellectual property claims
- Design around infringement of designs, patents and trade marks. Compete where you would otherwise be liable for infringement of other businesses' intellectual property rights
If it is going to be bad we can tell you how bad, so that you can start building a plan. We also help clients minimise and often avoid financial penalties for infringement.
Getting your Intellectual Property Protection Right
If you are having problems, we can support you to avoid worsening the problem. We can steer you on an optimal path which will not put you in a weaker position going forward. The reduced risk can be a tremendous peace of mind.
We can point you to the real points that need addressing to get the deal done, and the things you don’t need to answer. If you are in trouble in your negotiations – you do not know what to do to respond to a question or the implications of agreeing to a change request - you can switch it back around, ask the correct questions, get them to justify their position once you are clear on what the legal provisions will mean for your business.
If you're under pressure and find that you can't handle yourself in a situation with the means that you've got at your disposal to make it happen, we can help you change the behaviour of the person you're talking to. Help you solve the problem.