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Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Crown jewels of a Start up Company




Crown jewels of a Start up Company


There are two jewels in your treasure chest that needs to be nurtured and polished, they are your employees and the IP and patents that you have generated with your investors money. I want to have a short think about IP and Patents, it is not so much the art of writing a patent, the work involved in scoping other competitors patents, or your patent strategy of how you layer and build defensible portfolios, which all good stuff but some more practical stuff about it.

have run manufacturing operations for years now, and part of setting up the production process is to baseline and run DoE trials (Design of Experiment) so you can control the process and understand the capabilities of the process hence your yield and then your profitability, this is all normal practice in the mature manufacturing line but as a start up a lot off the early work will be leading edge and as such is worthy of protection either for IP , or as a patent.

I will not touch on what you should patent and what you want to keep quite about, but you should think about it strategically for the company’s future. Practically you need to have an infrastructure in place that will capture the work being done, there are many ways to do this and each company will have there own flavour, I do instil in my engineering teams the idea of cost Vs result, to drive home the concept that each trial you run you learn something from and you record the results, this also gets part way to helping over come the tribal knowledge syndrome a lot of start up companies have died from. The last part of this is a review of work done with a “low cost” patent attorney and see what is patentable and defensible and what should be documented as IP.

The last part of this is do not be frightened to get the some of the crown jewels out now and again and show them off, it is good for your engineers and for positive PR. I would start of with low profile conferences for a couple of the presentation, the progress and target from then on.

A couple of points to end with, law suits have been won and lost on the documentation of IP, and the value of your company and amount of IP and patent protection you have will have is a functional relationship.



Slainte


Gordon

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