"You do things when the opportunities come along. I've had periods in my life when I've had a bundle of ideas come along, and I've had long dry spells. If I get an idea next week, I'll do something. If not, I won't do a damn thing." - Warren Buffett
An intellectual property development and management program enables a company to identify and perfect the intellectual property rights it possesses, to continue to develop and expand such rights as the opportunities come along, and to leverage such rights to their fullest potential. An effective intellectual property program incorporates the technological, management and commercial facets of the company into a comprehensive policy to evaluate, protect and best use its ideas and developments related to existing, new and improving products and processes and proprietary information relating to the company's business.
An alliance between intellectual property counsel and the company's business and financial managers will ensure sound management and administration of the company's intellectual property portfolio and will maximize the value of the company's intellectual property assets in the marketplace. Such a program will set out a detailed procedure regarding such policies as:
1. The establishment and protection of proprietary rights of the Company in new products and processes conceived and developed by its employees. It is important that the company obtain patents, when warranted, protect its investment in new product or process developments, and prevent others from obtaining a dominant patent position in technology the company may use or wish to use;
2. Avoidance of infringement of a valid patent or other intellectual property rights of others;
3. Agreements involving intellectual property to generate income or to gain access to technology through licensing;
4. Employee obligations relating to intellectual property so that all employees who may in the course of their employment have access to or generate proprietary information shall, as a condition of employment or continued employment, sign an Invention Assignment and Confidentiality Agreement which includes certain obligations regarding disclosure to the company and ownership of inventions and ideas and the safeguarding of company information;
5. The terms and conditions for considering ideas and disclosures of new product ideas and other information, solicited and unsolicited, submitted to the company by non-employees;
6. Protection of the company's confidential information and trade secrets which may not be patentable or which may be best protected without patents; and
7. Coordination of product research and development with strategic marketing functions including trademark and trade dress selection, clearance and protection.
Once the fundamental procedures for the development and protection of the company's intellectual property have been implemented, it is important to manage and exploit these assets. This requires identification of the company's goals in the national and global marketplace and the protection desired to enable the company to reach those goals. The company needs to determine the value of the technology to its business in each country and assess the risk of not securing protection of a particular invention or trademark in a given country. The selection of countries in which to file, prosecute and maintain coverage calls for a combination of good business sense and international patent and trademark expertise.
IP counsel can also coordinate and manage the company's intellectual property program. By integrating the administration of a company's intellectual property development and management with IP counsel's expertise, the company can devote its time and money to the creation of new ideas and technology and the pursuit of its business goals. In this way, the value of the intellectual property portfolio to the company will be increased while reducing legal costs.
The quickest way for you to learn how to develop and manage your intellectual property is to contact us.