Build an intellectual property strategy


Do an internal IP audit

List the intellectual property assets you own

Define your relevant intellectual property (IP) assets that can help you achieve your business objectives. Use the following checklist to identify the IP you could exploit.


Assess and rank your IP assets

When you have identified your IP assets, determine whether you should invest to protect them.

The best team to assess and rank IP is often a business-centric team with at least 3 skill sets:

  • legal skills
  • business and technology skills
  • strategic or competitive market skills

1. Legal skills

A team with legal skills understands the local and global legal issues to consider and will ensure that you meet the legal requirements to maintain your IP rights.

The team should ask the following questions:

  • Is it clear who owns the IP?
  • Are there any restrictions on how you can use the IP?

2. Business and technology skills

A team with business and technology skills understands the innovation, idea, product or service. In technology-heavy businesses, having technology skills means prioritizing key technical patents and industrial designs. In brand-heavy businesses, having business skills means prioritizing current and future branding plans such as trademarks and copyrighted material.

The team should ask the following questions:

  • Is the IP a unique competitive differentiator in the market? How is the IP protected?
  • Does the IP have long-lasting value? What is an appropriate IP protection method?
  • What are the key geographical markets? Can they offer sufficient IP protection?
  • Does the invention solve a problem, enhance performance or introduce new functionality? Are IP rights covering the complete solution (including in-licensing IP from others)?
  • Can others circumvent your solution? How could this be detected and proven?

3. Strategic or competitive market skills

A team with strategic or competitive market skills understands how IP impacts your competitors and market. This team ensures a balance between IP assets, business benefits and market needs.

The team should ask the following:

  • Does the invention meet an unmet need?
  • What are the factors and options your clients will weigh into their purchase decision? Why would they decide to purchase your product or service in light of other competing offerings?
  • What IP assets do you have to protect these competitive features?