Intellectual property is the currency of business. While obtaining patents is a good first step for a growing business, how you leverage your intellectual property is what makes a company successful.
OneEleven, with communities of high-performing technology scaleups in London, Toronto and Ottawa, is expanding the services they provide their members to include intellectual property management and how to make it part of their core business process. Through their delivery partner Stratford Managers – a management consulting firm that helps organizations grow, improve and transform – OneEleven members will gain access to a proactive and strategic IP management as a monthly service. This service is part of OneEleven’s commercial service offerings designed to better prepare technology founders for their future and allow them the time to focus on growing their business.
Stratford Managers approaches IP through a different lens. Instead of simply focusing on filing patents, Stratford Managers believes in using IP as a strategic advantage and a way to force companies to think longer term. Companies with a strong IP strategy innovate more, experience higher growth and tend to be more successful. Several OneEleven member companies are already part of Stratford’s IP client portfolio, and through this agreement Stratford is looking forward to supporting more of OneEleven’s members.
“Our mission is to support growing organizations,” says David Booker, chief operating officer at Stratford Managers. “Because we have similar values with OneEleven, we felt that we could greatly benefit their members.”
OneEleven’s community, programming, partnerships, and facilities are designed to meet the unique needs of technology scaleups.
“What drew us to Stratford is how they look at IP management in a comprehensive way,” says John Mavriyannakis, Chief Operating Officer at OneEleven. “They look at Intellectual Property through a business lens. We both want our members to think about intellectual property whether that is protecting your own or not infringing on others as early in the product development process as possible. We believe that building a defensible product will reduce potential rework later on and increase your businesses value going forward. Stratford thinks about IP from the beginning to the end of product development and that’s what our members need.”
Intellectual property goes beyond filing for patent protection. Stratford Managers specializes in strategic IP management, which includes having a proactive approach to IP strategy.
“We want to create a culture of innovation where all employees know what IP is and how to manage and protect it on a day to day basis,” says Natalie Giroux, who leads innovation strategy at Stratford Managers. “We perform frequent industry intelligence searches to see what type of IP landscape exist for a specific idea. This helps determine the value of a patent before even drafting it.
One of the major issues that small companies tend to neglect is the cost of IP management which includes not only the initial drafting and filling costs but longer-term prosecution, maintenance fees and possible enforcement.
“It’s easy to make the mistake of spending a lot of money on patents early on, there are a lot of ways to minimize the spending in the early stage while ensuring a long-term protection” says Giroux. “Investors want to see startups thinking about the future and spending funds strategically. You want to budget for future costs as the IP portfolio grows. In many cases, when appropriate, it can lead to deciding to protect some key IP as trade secrets. When you do your due diligence and protect your patents, this will make you more attractive to investors. Part of the value we provide with our IP service is anticipating the needs of investors.”