This content is made possible by our sponsors. Submit your expert blog here.

Find the money to design and implement your IP strategy

Natalie Giroux, leads IP Strategy at Stratford

The average cost of a single patent can run into the several thousands; trademarks are a lower, but still significant investment. Even trade secrets can cost money as you need to set up security infrastructure. If you’re a company with any kind of innovation or brand value you want to protect, it can seem daunting to pursue formal IP rights. Can you afford to have an IP strategy? 

The real question is can you afford NOT to have one! (Spoiler alert – you can’t.) Here is why you need an IP Strategy that is tailored to your business needs and how to make it more affordable.

All companies, not just tech companies, need an IP strategy to maximize value and reduce risk. Not all companies need to use all types of intellectual property, but all companies will need to consider trademarks and copyrights at a minimum (and you may even have innovations worth protecting in ways that you haven’t considered yet) and would likely benefit from a discerning evaluation from an IP expert.

It is not enough to simply file a patent and call it a ‘strategy.’ An IP strategy (at least a good one) must cover all types of IP relevant to a company, and will typically include a healthy mix of patents, trademarks, trade secrets, and copyright. For example, a tech company must consider the value of using a combination of trade secrets and patents instead of patenting everything.

The misuse of open-source software and AI can bring undue copyright related risks that can be mitigated with proper IP policies. IP searching – landscapes, patentability, competitors – is essential to developing a sound IP strategy and should be repeated regularly to benefit from the insights. These are just examples of elements that should be considered in an IP strategy.

Your IP strategy should evolve over time and must be designed and adapted with the end in mind. You should ask yourself, “What is the ultimate goal of the IP portfolio? Valuation, offensive, defensive, licensing, divesting?” Have you considered what markets are lucrative in the long term and may be worth pursuing IP rights in?

After the design of the IP strategy, an ongoing, intentional, proactive, and pragmatic implementation of the IP strategy is essential.

Investing in designing and implementing an IP strategy that keeps your goals and business objectives in mind can help you save money in the long term because you are assigning budget dollars based on a predetermined plan, instead of filing and responding in a piecemeal fashion. Not to mention that there are several cost-reduction programs you should consider taking advantage of.

Luckily, the Canadian federal and provincial governments also recognize the value of a solid IP strategy, and they are providing funds to help companies leverage expert assistance. There are several government grants and programs available to Canadian companies to help develop and implement a solid IP strategy customized to each business-specific objectives and stages.  These non-refundable grants cover IP education programs, IP strategy review and design, IP strategy implementation and IP protection (covering patent and trademark filings).

There is a wealth of funding available with minimum submission overhead that can help your company maximize its value and reduce IP related risks. We can help you access the right programs! You can’t afford not to!

As president of Stratford Intellectual Property, Natalie Giroux leads a team of IP Strategy experts in delivering end-to-end IP strategy and implementation services, which includes a full service patent and trademark agency, to lean in as trusted strategic advisors. With over 30 years of experience, Natalie has helped numerous companies identify and navigate the opportunities and risks involved with Intellectual property, including providing vision and leadership to companies looking to establish a culture of innovationNatalie and her team have also created and are delivering unique IP education programs on IP strategy. Since 2021, Natalie has ranked on the annual IAM Strategy 300 list as a worldwide leading IP Strategist.

You can get in touch with Natalie here.