Each year, patent holders file thousands of infringement lawsuits in an effort to protect the value of their inventions and intellectual property assets, or even to prolong entry of a competitive product. These lawsuits present many challenges for the parties involved as they are expensive, time consuming, and, most times, somebody loses. So how can companies or individuals avoid IP lawsuits?
Recognize the need for protection. Imagine spending hours, days, or even years creating a new invention that has the potential to excel in the market. Now imagine upon completion that someone else comes along with a similar idea and takes the opportunity away from you. This is not only possible, but is a reality when inventors do not take proper measures to protect their creations. Whenever a new idea comes along, recognizing that the idea needs protected will save headaches down the road.
Develop an IP strategy. Once you realize that you need protection, the next step is determining how you are going to protect yourself. Will you need a patent or copyright to exclude others from the market? Or will trade secrets provide better protection (e.g., Coca-Cola’s formula is a trade secret)? Consider all forms of protection, weigh the pros and cons, and move forward with your IP strategy to further protect your assets.
Capitalize your IP strategy. Once your IP strategy is developed, capitalize on it. Determine the resources necessary to protect your IP assets. Then, find out how much your IP is worth. An excellent way to do this is through a professional IP valuation. Investing in a professional IP valuation will help you make the best decision with your IP. A professional IP valuation will guide you in the strategic IP decision making and planning process. Having an IP valuation is paramount to having a successful IP strategy.
Implement your IP strategy. This may involve filing for a patent or copyright with the USPTO, or buying patents from other companies. Or, it may involve putting into place the proper measures for protecting trade secrets, such as non-disclosure agreements, locking the information in a protected area, etc. Further, keeping up with maintenance fees is crucial for IP protection.
Reevaluate. Because we are involved in a dynamic world, things are constantly evolving. Facts change. New products and companies enter the market. Consumer tastes change. The state of the economy can affect buying power. All of these and more play a huge role in the value of a given IP asset. Therefore, it’s a good idea to reevaluate your IP frequently.
At Pellegrino & Associates, we have the experience and the resources to provide you with credible IP valuations. Contact us today to find out how we can help you avoid litigation.