Patents, trademarks, and copyrights are commonly known as “intellectual property” or IP. As occasional high-profile lawsuits between large corporations illustrate, IP can be extremely valuable, causing companies to budget significant amounts of money to acquire, defend, and assert IP rights. The concept of IP can be controversial, prompting various constituencies to condemn the entire idea (e.g., as dampening innovation or hampering individuals and smaller entities), or to object to the vast sums spent on high-profile lawsuits and their resulting awards/settlement.
“How do I valuate my various IP assets?” At the outset, we recognize you likely already appreciate the difficulty of answering this question from first-hand experience. IP valuation is a complex, multivariable task and an industry unto itself. That said, this task is not impossible and can be approached from a number of ways, as we now discuss.
For most, the topic of intellectual property (IP) is a hot mess of “I-don’t-knows” conflated with “I-don’t-cares.” But it shouldn’t be. Knowing what IP is and how to protect it is fundamental to most businesses’ success, whether they know it or not. A common trap related to this attitude is to “trip over dollars to pick up dimes.” Especially for startups – for whom “keeping the lights on” trumps “protecting my IP” by several orders of magnitude on their wish-lists – this trap is almost universal.
When consumers think of “tech” companies, Apple, HP, Cisco, Microsoft, Samsung, and many other technology giants come to mind. While all of these organizations are clearly innovators, they do not, even when combined, account for the majority of innovation in the United States. The vast majority of innovation occurs in small companies, many of which have fewer than 10 employees. Small, innovative companies live to create new technology. They are passionate about discovery, research, development, and modernization.
To practice as an intellectual property (IP) attorney means to focus on the intersection of technology, business and law. Mike Martensen arms his clients with a competitive advantage in IP by falling back to basic underlying themes of attention to detail, dedication to excellence and discipline.
A survey of landmines that may await you, and an advantageous roadmap to guide you away from danger with sound pointers on how to protect your IP while operating in the government sphere. You’ve just won a government contract under a Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) or Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) award for a prototype space widget or new cyber application – great!