Ok, you’re a company who has a new product in the offing. It could be BIG and you might want to raise some finance to help get it to market. How can we help?
When developing anything novel, it is important to ensure confidentiality is maintained across the breadth of people, agencies and companies involved. Early or inadvertent disclosure could jeopardise your technology, e.g. by preventing you from patenting it. Non-disclosure agreements are the tool of choice here and we will ensure that the appropriate one is entered into in each instance. We will also help you make sure that your staff have the appropriate elements in their contracts of employment to ensure no problems further down the line there too.
Diligence, Commercial and IP Strategies
If you are seeking external funding, e.g. from a business angel or venture capital company, you will need to demonstrate that you (and the funder!) will be free to make money from your technology. To do that you will need to have a convincing commercial strategy is underpinned by a clear IP strategy. We can help by performing an infringement risk analysis to make sure you have freedom to operate in your chosen field an territories. We can also help you develop an IP strategy that dovetails with your commercial aims.
IP Analytics, Freedom to Operate & Infringement Risk Analysis
Before you invest large amounts of money in developing the product and its underlying technology you need to make sure that you’re not going to be infringing anyone else’s rights. For instance, has it already been invented? Does someone else have a patent on it? We can do clearance searches to make sure the technology space is available and give you confidence that you won’t infringe someone’s rights. We can also do a ‘Themescape’ analysis of the technology area so that you can see pictorially the IP landscape you will be working in. This is very useful as it lets you see where the competing technologies are and their development vectors.
If you have to license-in some technology from another company to make the product, we can assist you with the negotiations and make sure you get the best deal. Licence negotiations can be very complex and it’s easy to get tied in knots so professional assistance here is crucial.
Contracts and Agreements
If you are going to farm out some of the design or development work, you have to make sure you own and are free to use what you are paying for. We can ensure that the appropriate contract is used and that your rights are covered by it. For instance, we would make sure that all rights to what your supplier or subcontractor have been paid to do are assigned (transferred) to you so that you have absolute control over them. It’s worth noting that just paying for something doesn’t necessarily mean that you actually own it!
IP Strategy and IP Management
Often there is the opportunity to protect new inventions and products by patenting them or using other techniques such as registered design, copyright or any of several others, providing protection under statute law. Sometimes it is more appropriate to keep aspects as trade secrets. We will help you choose the right means of protecting your work and, if you need to make use of patent attorneys or such, make sure the right aspects are protected in the right countries to meet your commercial aims, at the right cost. Patenting is an expensive business and we will work with you to make sure you have the right coverage in place, where it needs to be, without incurring unnecessary expense. Remember, a patent attorney will tell you if you can patent something, not whether you should and that’s a crucial difference where we will help.
New products need new names, logos, colour schemes and all the other things that go together to properly create a brand image. Here we will work with you to ensure that the brand you develop isn’t in use by anyone else or infringes other’s rights. We will also help you to make sure it is appropriately protected in the right territories and classes (fields of use, really) without wasting money protecting areas with little or no relevance.
You might decide to licence some or all of your new technology, or perhaps even the product, to another company. We will ensure that the licence is properly constructed and negotiated, giving you the best return with maximum flexibility to further benefit from your efforts.
If you have patented technologies we can perform a citation analysis on them to see if anyone else is referencing your patents in theirs. This is an excellent way to find potential licensees.
Valuation, Benchmarking and Evaluation
What will be the potential value of the new product or IP? Here we can help place a value on your invention. This is very useful if you have the opportunity to use a technology in several ways but are unsure which will yield the best return on the investment.
Dispute Resolution and Mediation
Once the product is ‘out there’ problems arise. Fact of life. You might fall out with a licensee or part of your supply chain or a delivery partner, these things happen. Having properly constructed contracts and agreements in place from day one will help to avoid these situations in the first place and provide a legal framework if they do. We will help make sure that these eventualities are as covered as they can be but if relationships fail, what can you do? Well we can provide support here with our mediation service. Not piggy-in-the-middle but structured mediation which has been proven to be extremely effective in resolving disputes.