Previously in our Intellectual Property (IP) Best Practices series, we introduced step two to maximizing your IP: Protect. Please check back every Monday for the next step in this series.

Image Courtesy: Kyle Van Horn @ Flickr

People tend to forget about intellectual property (IP) after registering it once–a mistake that can cost dearly. As we discussed in our previous blog about protecting IP, the goals of startups or entrepreneurs can change over time, and as such the utility to be leveraged from your IP can change. Even if your goals do not change, some IP may require renewals or routine registrations and filings. Trademark infringement, for example, has to be policed by the owner; no government agency does it for you. Failing to do so may lead to loss of the trademark.

Managing intellectual property and updating your IP portfolio is a continuous process and can be as painful or painless as you want it to be. By delaying the inevitable you only be increase your workload and in some cases may let valuable IP slip through the cracks. A good way to keep yourself updated is by conducting regular IP audits.

As your business scales, a need for a more stringent IP protection strategy may be required. Maintaining your IP portfolio and keeping everything up to date is important and there are a number of ways to do that. For example, business models and methods of conducting business with only a handful of employees may not work as well when there are 20 employees handling external sales. IP protection has to adapt by keeping changing business structures in mind. Some options include hiring either an in-house IP manager or outside firm to prepare quarterly reports.

A cost-effective and streamlined method of maintaining IP is using automated tools. Traklight’s IP Inventory and IP Snapshot excel reports from ID your IP help manage your portfolio without any hidden add-on expenses. Once you purchase your annual ID your IP access, you can conduct and update your report as many times as you want. By regularly updating your IP inventory, readily accessible at the touch of a button, you will be on top of things and keep your IP strategy up-to-date, as well as in keeping with the goals of a scaling business.

The biggest problem with employing change is that entrepreneurs are fearful to abandon the informal atmosphere they believe makes their business what it is. Also many startups are hesitant to alter the so-called "startup work environment" their employees have come to love. Regardless, the process of managing your IP is an important one when it comes to leveraging your business' assets.

The next step to maximize your IP efficiency is Code of Conduct. For more information about protecting your IP check out Traklight's Resources and fill out the risk quiz today.

Free Risk Quiz