Ever wonder how people come up with the idea for a business? We will share our start-up process, explain our products, and describe best practices.
This first blog is longer than future ones will be and is a bit of an introduction to our website. For those of you who want to gauge your risk of Intellectual Property loss, check out our Free Quiz. Feedback is welcome at firstname.lastname@example.org. Check back for lessons learned on topics ranging from intellectual property, business planning and execution to succession planning.
Why ID your IP?
I cringed last spring as a Prof lectured on Intellectual Property (IP) Audits in a joint MBA/Law class. As a recovering accountant, an IP Audit conjured up memories of detailed interview questionnaires and client complaints about high audit fees. Financial auditors are seen as backward-looking timewasters and a necessary evil.
During the class debrief, it was agreed that despite the expense, there was incredible value in identifying IP and reducing the risk of loss or theft of IP.
An IP Audit can easily run from hundreds to thousands of dollars depending on the consultant and the size of the business. Once checks are written for LLC Operating Agreements or C Corp Shareholder agreements, Buy/Sell Agreements, Business Plan consulting, and other professional fees, spending money on an IP Audit does not fit into the start-up budget.
"You do not know what you have until it's gone"
Our Prof outlined horror stories of lost IP. These were not stories of industrial espionage but rather stories of inventors' or small business' ideas given away inadvertently in public or to employees. And in rare cases, ideas were stolen and the original owner had no recourse.
During a series of executive positions in public and private companies, my best and most fun experience was helping and mentoring others while fixing messes. As I sat in class, it was clear that inventors, creators, and entrepreneurs may not even know about their IP, and therefore, mission critical IP was at risk. For me, consulting experience coupled with IP portfolio management skills equaled an opportunity to help inventors, creators, and small business.
Got Intellectual Property?
The inventor, creator, or small business owner who puts passion into an idea or start-up business and spends money on a business plan, company structure, and prototypes may not understand the need to identify and secure their IP. Some may not understand what IP is in the first place.
When talking to the average person, they understand that there are copyrights, trademarks, or patents available but many think this is only a legal issue that does not apply to them or not necessary. There are services and websites where you can learn about IP but you have to know what IP you have first!