Beginner's Guide To Managing An IP Portfolio

by Alyssa Carpenter

As a business owner, you know how important it is to maximize your company's return on investment (ROI) on its equipment, products, and employees. However, there is one important company asset that many business owners overlook — the intellectual property (IP). In fact, you might not even realize how much information your company's IP includes. It's not just copyrights and patents. Your company's intellectual property includes everything from branding to trade secrets, and you need to know how to manage it properly.  

Take an Inventory of Your Company's IP

Before you can decide what how you want to manage your company's IP portfolio, you need to know what assets your company holds. So, gather all of the copyrights, patents, trademarks, and trade secrets your company holds and make a list of your assets. Once your list is compiled, you need to go over your company's intellectual property to see if there is anything you own that isn't protected. Remember,

  • Copyrights protect material that is in written, audio, or video format.
  • Trademarks protect your company's name, logo, and anything else that's associated with your company's name and brand.
  • Patents protect inventions.
  • Trade secrets protect the way your company produces a product or a strategy your company uses to be successful. For example, large companies, like Coca-Cola, protect formulas used to create specific products as trade secrets.

Create a Process for Obtaining IP Rights

It's generally a good idea to begin the process to protect intellectual property as soon as it's created. This way, other companies or competitors can't steal your ideas. The fact is, once someone begins using your intellectual property, it's a lot harder for your attorneys to get the protection you need put into place.

Devise a Commercially Driven IP Strategy

By using the power behind your IP portfolio, you can maximize the return on your IP investment. To do this, you should consider talking to an IP consultant or IPV4 broker to determine the value of your company's intellectual property. Once they help you determine the financial value of your IP portfolio, you can begin exploring various tax deductions, funding options, and licensing revenue opportunities available to you. Also, knowing the value of your company's intellectual property helps your IPV4 broker or consultant negotiate and draft partnership and licensing contracts so that you can maximize the ROI for your IPs.

Ultimately, you have to think of your IP portfolio just like any other asset your company holds. It's important to have a strategy in place so that you can monetize your IPs, and to do that, you need to take inventory and work with an IPV4 broker or consultant to create a profitable plan.