Patent Strategies – Some Thoughts
An area of IP that is too often overlooked is that of IP strategy. A company with some level of IP – and every company does have some! – should invest a little time in thinking through their IP strategy. Otherwise the likelihood is that the decisions regarding IP are made without sufficient regard to what the realistic objectives are. I say “realistic” because whilst worldwide coverage may be eminently desirable, is it achievable given the costs? Or even desirable if overseas markets are too small to be worth the cost? Here are some thoughts to ponder:
- Right at the very start think about how much money the IP is likely to cost. Over what timescale?
- What are your realistic market plans over the lifetime of the product?
- Where are the really key markets in your industry?
- How quickly do you need to achieve grant?
- What is the risk of copycats? Do you need IP insurance to mitigate that risk?
And finally, the most key point of all, don’t leave IP decisions right to the last minute. Give yourself time to think these questions through before your hand is forced by an imminent and pressing deadline.