Katie_Martinka_Photo_Oct2012

CEI Gateway hosted the first 2014 meeting of the Law and Technology Committee for the AZ Tech Council this past Thursday, February 13th; the discussion focused on the need to be proactive in your intellectual property strategy by providing five tips to help you protect your company’s intangible assets and remain competitive. Katharina (Katie) Martinka, an attorney with 20 years of litigation and transactional experience in Intellectual Property and Business law, provided real life examples along with her five tips to prove how a little pre-planning can provide the basis for a stronger business plan.

Here are the steps Katie offered to help your business this year: 

  1. Develop a unified IP strategy.

Outline a plan with a purpose or goal in mind. Understand the value of your Intellectual Property (IP) and the trade-off in the associated costs of your strategy. Most importantly, identify a person that will drive the project and define how the effectiveness of these efforts will be measured.

  1. Know the changing landscape of IP strategy.

What are the current court cases and their outcome? How might the law be changing?

  1. Make decisions regarding the deployment of IP property rights.

Will you license your technology? Where are you located and where will you be potentially manufacturing and/or selling in the future? Work backwards from your ‘end state’ and involve your IP strategy early. For example, Katie suggested filing a trademark in China early, regardless of whether you think you will market there or not and remember to file the Chinese equivalent of your English mark.

  1. Mine your company personnel for intangible assets.

Create committees responsible to regularly review new IP such as copyrights, trademarks, and patents. One suggestion was to hold brainstorming sessions and to encourage employees to come up with ideas and incentivize them with award programs to encourage participation.

  1. Continually update your company’s IP strategy.

Stakeholders may change so it is important to get these new perspectives and review the changing landscape of your IP. Communicate and your IP strategy to your employees and train them on it. Retire your outdated IP and consider licensing your non-core technology to indirect or non-competitors.

Katie’s presentation reminds us of the importance to plan ahead instead of getting sidetracked by the ‘fires’ we so often let guide our day. Intellectual Property, like your business, is not a static state. It changes and grows and needs to be updated to keep in line with not only your current business, but where you want to be in the future.

Need a little help getting started? Check out our ID your IP questionnaire to learn about your potential intellectual property and receive a custom report with strategic recommendations for your next steps!