The aim here is to achieve a robust IP strategy. For businesses that are new or have limited funding, it is essential that they ensure actions taken early on do not hamper their ability to maximize IP protection in the future.
For example, although a patent is normally granted to a single invention, there is no requirement that the application for the patent should disclose only a single inventive step. We can drill into all aspects of the invention and assist you to identify and extract greater commercial value from your invention.
Also, we can capture additional related inventions, relevant data and further improved embodiments in one or more further priority filings within the first year. A single national or international patent application can then be filed claiming priority from each of the applications filed within the first year. This means that the first filing can be made in a timely fashion, rather than being delayed while relevant data is generated and further embodiments are fleshed out.
The use of the international application (under the Patent Cooperation Treaty) to delay decisions about, and costs in relation to, the geographical scope of protection can be key to the IP strategies of many businesses. Once the international application enters the national and regional phases, it can be split into any number of divisional applications ensuring that all key elements of the invention are suitably protected and competitors in those markets are kept at bay.
If we also include trade marks and designs, alongside patents, it is also strategically important to ensure the IP protection is mapped to the products and services. Understanding the costs of each element of IP to the business and how it protects, supports and leverages licensing or partnering deals, provides a high level of confidence or competitive advantage, and enables effective decision making on where the greatest value-add can be realised. The aim should be to obtain a full return on the investment in IP.
IP portfolio management strategies should be designed to be applicable whether the business is in times of plenty or not, and should always account for both extremes. Companies should always be able to identify their core IP and recognise which parts of their portfolio are being maintained for other commercial reasons, such as blocking competitors or to generate revenues through licensing.
Ideally, an IP strategy should involve robust protection for the most valuable inventions, trade marks and designs, and a strong desire to extend that protection geographically or chronologically by filing further applications, while at all times looking to the market for opportunities to grow the business and the IP which is at its heart.