Startups will always face issues and roadblocks during their growth. Don’t let the costs and difficulties in developing an IP strategy be a potential impediment to your success. Below are six of the most common IP issues that startup founders will face and how using an IP management system can help to avoid these pitfalls.
1. Don’t Mix New Business with Old Business
If you haven’t left your current employer yet, it is crucial to keep work you do for them separate from work you do on your startup. ClearAccessIP has a built-in cloud storage system that helps you keep documents and ideas in an organized manner that helps you maintain that much-needed separation.
2. Take Invention Disclosures Seriously
The first step in developing intellectual property is writing it down. ClearAccessIP provides a detailed invention disclosure form where you lay out the core components of your invention or product and describe those aspects that make it stand out. This helps you flesh out your ideas and help you think strategically about aspects of product, sales, and market fit. Additionally, your invention disclosure form is shareable, so it’s easy to collaborate with other inventors or counsel to help you get results faster.
3. Know When to File, and When Not to
Inventors should file patents when they’ve identified something unique that can lead to tangible commercial value, and ClearAccessIP makes it easy to determine that business case. Every time you save an invention disclosure to ClearAccessIP, you can run a search through our AI analyst, which scans the entire patent corpus and provides a lens into the IP landscape. If you decide not to file a patent, ClearAccessIP provides a secure repository for documents that only you, trusted employees, and counsel can access, so you can maintain the idea as a trade secret
4. Watch Out for Public Disclosures
A public disclosure of your idea may render it unpatentable, and it’s an easier mistake to make than you might expect. Showcasing your new technology at trade shows, in white papers and in shared prototypes might be enough to eliminate your ability to get patent protection. Seek guidance from counsel before any anticipated public disclosures so that you are best prepared.
5. Think Long Term – Develop an IP Strategy
In the midst of all the short-term and urgent priorities at a startup, it’s hard to think long term about IP. Developing an IP strategy, even if it’s very simple, is crucial to the success of your organization. Here’s an example of a well-known company that sold a product without thinking through an IP strategy – they lost the confidence of investors, and ultimately, they lost the company.
Without a reliable workflow around IP to support the strategy, the administrative costs alone can become an impediment to your success. ClearAccessIP streamlines the entire process, freeing up valuable time for you to focus on your most pressing priorities.
6. Make Due Diligence Easy
Due diligence packets are a normal part of every round of fundraising and M&A. Without an IP management system, ensuring that every ownership record, document from the PTO, trade secret, notes from your attorneys and market intelligence is a time consuming process that becomes out of date very quickly once it’s done. ClearAccessIP makes IP due diligence easy by automatically saving and refreshing PTO data daily, while keeping patent data, attorney notes, sketches, or market analyses all together and available at the click of a button.
These six issues can sink even the most experienced and well funded startups. Ensuring that you have the proper tools to limit the headaches around developing an IP strategy and preparing your organization for fundraising and M&A are essential to the success of your organization. Contact us today at firstname.lastname@example.org to learn about integrating ClearAccessIP into your workflow and setting up a successful IP strategy.
*Thank you to Allison White, our Summer, 2018 Business and Legal Intern for all of her help in creating this guide.