8 tips from a patent attorney

8 tips from a patent attorney

For tech startups, the most valuable assets are often invisible. While businesses have traditionally been built on physical resources, the contemporary economy is increasingly driven by intangibles. Chip firm Arm, for example, won a valuation of $40 billion and a reputation as the UK’s leading technology company, despite never making a single chip. Instead, the company designs the processor architecture used in countless devices.

This business model based on intellectual property It has transformed the stock markets. In 1985, less than a third of all assets in the S&P 500 were classified as intangibles by 2020, that proportion had risen to about 90%. Startups, however, may overlook intellectual property protection in their initial plans.

According to Robert Lind, a patent attorney at the intellectual property firm Marks & Clerk, they are taking a big risk. Lind recently wrote an electronic book on how to protect and monetize your intellectual property. He shared his best tips with TNW.

1. Start your research as soon as possible

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According to Lind, technology companies often neglect IP until their business is exposed to financial and creative danger. He advises them to start their research before they really need it.

Naturally, Lind suggests that your study material include his eBook. But she doesn’t recommend relying on professional advisers at all times.

“Arm yourself with the knowledge up front, so you know when to bring in the experts and when you don’t need to bring them in,” Lind says.

For tech startups, patents are the main form of intellectual property that can be protected. Founders should educate themselves on what a patent is, how to obtain one, how third-party patents are enforced, and how third-party patents can be interpreted.

2. Keep it confidential

It goes without saying that your brilliant idea should be kept private, but that’s easier said than done.

“Going public doesn’t just mean selling a product,” Lind says. “It could mean presenting a conference paper, publishing a journal article, or putting information on your website. Be very careful about publishing your ideas before deciding if something is patentable.”

3. Diligently identify your innovations

Innovations are the lifeblood of patents, but they are not always easy to identify. Many researchers and engineers don’t realize that their work could be valuable intellectual property.

“It’s very important that you have regular internal reviews and milestones in your project plans to consider what innovations have been made and whether or not they should be patented,” Lind says.

Lind has spent 24 years as a patent attorney at Marks & Clerk.  She graduated from the University of Glasgow with a degree in electrical and electronic engineering, followed by a PhD in bioelectronics.