Many successful companies today are getting aggressive with their intellectual property efforts to increase their annual licensing royalties. The management of intellectual property has become a core competency of many successful companies—it’s a unique and easy way to add value and increase profits.
Some call these potential licensing opportunities “Rembrandts in the attic,” waiting to be leveraged for profit and competitive advantage.
Licensing: The Low-Risk, High-Return Strategy
Businesses create new products, services, and technologies. While business models in the past have called for leveraging those commodities in the market, more companies today are bundling their IP rights in licensing around the world. Rather than limiting a company’s reach to its traditional market and consumers, the licensing of companies’ technologies has continued to grow and evolve rapidly into new spaces and different consumer groups. Companies that license their intellectual properties have realized that this is a quick way to reach a new commercial marketplace and has the potential to transform their businesses overnight.
Create a Bigger Pie Through Licensing
Did you know that there are billions of dollars of un-commercialized IP sitting on the books of companies around the world?
And many of these intellectual properties are market ready. All it takes is a knowledgeable advisor to help your company tap into your IP and find a potential market for it to develop a lucrative licensing opportunity.
One of the most exciting elements of licensing your company’s IP is that there’s no telling how well the intellectual property will do in the commercial market. Yes, it’s somewhat speculative, but there are entrepreneurs who see the incredible potential of licensing have created companies just to uncover new IP, acquiring the rights at a low price then waiting to see what develops. And there are some who tap into or create a market or who expand their market. Creating a bigger pie through licensing and the marketplace can result in large royalty revenues from licensees.
Your company should identify IP that can be licensed. Along with that you need the legal support to finalize and execute the transactions. This includes due diligence, negotiation, technology evaluation, valuation, and drafting royalty and licensing agreements.
Identify Untapped Intellectual Property with an IP Audit with Your Attorney
First, review your business’ brands to see if they are properly used, protected, and registered. To do this work with your IP attorney on an annual patent, trademark, and copyright audit.
As you recognize that your company’s intellectual property is among its most valuable assets, you will identify IP that can be licensed and avoid costly gaps in protections. An annual IP audit should include an in-depth examination of the legal and marketing environment surrounding your businesses’ intellectual property. A comprehensive IP audit should entail the following:
- proper use of trademark symbols and copyright notices in all communications and materials;
- registration and renewal of all brand names, slogans, and company logos;
- identifying new brands that can be positioned as tangible intellectual property;
- monitoring IP usage;
- registering all IP;
- analyzing insurance policies for IP coverage;
- proper handling IP created in partnership with other entities;
- appropriate treatment of IP assets obtained from other parties;
- ensuring protection of company domain names;
- drafting usage guidelines for employees and contractors; and
- determining if international IP protection is needed.
Again, an IP audit guards against unintended gaps in protection and unexpected liabilities, as well as to protect the company against trademarks devaluation and damage or destruction of the value of a company brand.
Your attorney will help you develop or update your company’s strategies for new products or services or the expansion of product lines.
In sum, an IP audit will maximize the benefit that your company receives from its intellectual property.
The real value of intellectual property can be found in its commercialization—not just its creation and development.
Its value of IP can be under-appreciated when compared to more tangible elements of a business such as sales, inventory, or marketing. But you should leverage the value of your IP with a legal expert. Meet with an experienced IP attorney and get the resources you need to guarantee all aspects of your IP will remain your own and to uncover hidden value in your patents.
Attorney Michael Ahmadshahi, PhD, focuses on patents, intellectual property, copyright, and trade secrets in Irvine, California. The Michael Ahmadshahi, PhD, Law Offices are also located in Beverly Hills and Sherman Oaks. Call us toll free at (800) 747-6081 or direct at (949) 260-4997 or email firstname.lastname@example.org and let us help you with your intellectual property questions and the IP strategy for your startup.