Maximise protection and return on investment.
Companies benefit from a framework to inform decision-making on IP issues so that the IP is sensibly protected and commercialised. In many companies there is no clear IP strategy, which can mean that IP is only considered when an issue arises. This can result in a gap between what is required and achieving that goal. For example, if a new brand is developed, clearance and protection of that brand should be considered well before the launch date. Or, if you need someone else’s patented invention to bring your product to market, an early assessment needs to be made as to the ability to acquire the patent rights and the associated cost of doing so.
We have worked with many clients putting these strategies in place to ensure that budget is prioritised, there are no gaps in protection and the return on investment is maximised.
Previously the domain of large multi-nationals, as companies realise the importance and value of IP assets, we have noticed an increasing appetite for developing proper IP strategies amongst small to medium size companies. Such strategies can result in actions including setting up off-shore IP holding companies, mortgaging IP assets and entering into formal intra-group licences.
In our experience, domain names are an area where companies often do not know what they own as responsibility has moved over time between IT, marketing and legal (sometimes all three at the same time). It is important to have a clear strategy governing what domains are needed, to avoid ending up with a bloated portfolio, where domain names are retained in the misguided belief that their retention is necessary to prevent cyber-squatting.
The scope of designs has grown in recent years and we often see companies under-investing in design protection, partly because most companies are unaware of the protection they offer or do not consider them relevant. Beyond the traditional “design” industries, designs can be effective in protecting websites, logos, merchandised characters and packaging.
Centralising and simplifying acquired IP
Our team advised a large European multinational, which had acquired numerous businesses around the world, on the development of strategies to bring the appropriate amount of central control to the various subsidiary companies and the development of simplified and consistent IP policies throughout the group.
Proprietary content licensing model
Our team advised a UK based company on new licensing strategies to overcome infringement issues with its then current licensing regime. Having embraced new technologies to license its proprietary content to customers, it found that many infringing copies were accessible through file-sharing sites. While we were able to fire fight such infringements on a case-by-case basis, the cost in terms of management time and legal costs to the client were becoming an irritation. We were able to assist the client in developing a new licensing model which aligned a new technical method of distribution alongside a new licensing structure. This has resulted in significantly reduced infringement issues.
Cost effective solution to maximising IP protection
Our team advised a fledgling clothing company with a new and exciting brand to maximise its IP protection with a small budget. By registering early in key countries and breaking the program up into manageable chunks we were able to keep costs down in the early years, but still demonstrate to investors at the various funding rounds that strong protection was in place.