By: Devin Salmon, Patent Analyst, IP.com
When it comes to your business’ intellectual property (IP), it really breaks down to four categories of the IP your business owns:
- Trade Secrets
These four categories are the foundation of your business’ value. By controlling this space, you can more effectively monetize your company’s innovative ideas and present a stronger opposition to your competition.
Here are four best practices for monitoring your IP ownership:
- Point Person: Either hire someone to be in charge solely of your IP monitoring program or – if salary budget is tight – empower someone who adds this responsibility to their plate. This point person would create a program for your company that does the following:
- Maintains all records of the IP your company owns
- Leads regular audits of what your company and your competitors’ own
- Outlines a process for monitoring employees and partners to make sure they are following company issued IP protection policies
- Designs a plan for what to do in the case of an IP theft
- Snoop: On a monthly basis, have a dedicated person or small team monitor what your competitors are doing in terms of their patent application filings. This will give you an idea of the technologies and ideas they are pursuing and planning to unveil in the next few years. Compare what they are filing for to what you are filing for to see if indeed, you are ahead of the competition. During this evaluation, it’s important to assess quality of competitors’ potential products and compare to yours.
- Too Crowded: By staying on top of all patent filings in your industry, you will be able to see if the market is going to become too crowded for a certain type of product. If a patent is often cited by other patents, it could lead to a situation where the product your company is pursuing could enter a crowded marketplace. This leads to the question – “Is it worth our company’s time to pursue this idea?”
- Be Strong: If your intellectual property is compromised (you’re increasing you’re chances of finding out by monitoring your IP space), take action:
- What is your plan for addressing the compromise? Will you pursue action against the company/individual that committed the left?
- Why did it happen?
- How could it be prevented in the future?
There is nothing more important than the value of your business. Make sure you are taking all of the steps necessary to protect it and grow it.