Startups often make the mistake of treating intellectual property (IP) without adequate care, which can endanger financing, empower competitors, and even result in lawsuits against their companies.

Intellectual property portfolios have become integral components of a company’s value today, from patents, trademarks, and copyrights to trade secrets and design patents. Yet building such an IP portfolio is both difficult and risky due to five common traps.

You’ll need a convincing case to convince your CFO of the importance and value of intellectual property for your company. This is a step-by-step guide to help you accomplish this.

Highlight the Value of Intellectual Property

Intellectual property (IP) is the creation of the mind. It includes inventions, artistic works, designs, symbols, names, and images that are used in commerce. Intellectual property is valuable because it can provide benefits and advantages for individuals, businesses, and society at large. Here are some of the key aspects that highlight the value of intellectual property.

Patents are a form of intellectual property protection that ensures inventors and creators retain exclusive rights over their innovations. This protection rewards and encourages innovation as it allows creators to recoup investments and gain a competitive edge in the marketplace. Without IP protection, individuals and businesses would have less incentive to invest in R&D.

Intellectual Property can be a powerful tool for establishing and maintaining a competitive edge in the marketplace. Patents, trademarks, or trade secrets can be used to prevent competitors from copying a company’s products or services. This will help the company maintain its market position.

IP Assets can be monetized by a variety of methods. Patents, for example, can be licensed to other companies at a fee. This generates a new revenue stream. Copyrights and trademarks can also be used to increase brand loyalty and recognition, resulting in increased revenue and sales.

Trademarks are essential for building brand recognition and reputation. Trademarks can help build trust in the minds of consumers and encourage them to buy from you again.

Companies that have a strong IP portfolio tend to be more attractive to potential investors and partners. Intellectual property can demonstrate a company’s innovation and commitment, which is important when securing funding.

A strong IP system encourages innovation and creativity which leads to the development of new technologies and industries. In turn, this creates jobs and contributes towards economic growth.

IP Protection Encourages Research and Development (R&D). IP protection encourages investments in R&D activities. Innovators and companies are able to pursue innovative ideas with confidence when the results of R&D work are protected.

Intellectual Property Protection facilitates international expansion. With IP rights secured, companies can enter new markets with confidence knowing that their brands and innovations are protected.

Copyright protection is crucial for the preservation and promotion of cultural heritage. This allows authors, artists, and creators to maintain control over their work and ensures cultural expressions will be respected and preserved for the future.

IP has played an important role throughout history in driving technological advances and human progress. IP has enabled innovations that have revolutionized our lives and the way we interact with others.

Outline a Clear IP Strategy

A strong Intellectual Property (IP), or Intellectual Assets, strategy is vital for any business to be able to protect its innovations, gain a competitive edge, and maximize the value of its intellectual assets. Here is an outline of how to create a solid IP strategy.

IP Strategy

Inventory and Audit of IP


Conduct an IP audit in order to identify and evaluate existing IP assets, such as patents, trademarks, and copyrights.

list of all IP assets

Make a list of all IP assets and include details like registration numbers, expiration dates, and the key contact for each asset.

Identify core IP assets

  • Decide which IP assets will be most important to the business goals and long-term growth of the organization.
  • Prioritize protection and management of core IP to maximize value.

IP creation and Capture

  • Create processes for capturing and documenting new ideas and creative works that are generated in the organization.
    • Employees should be educated about the importance and reporting of potential IP assets.

IP protection

  • Determine the most appropriate form of IP protection based on assets’ nature and purpose (e.g. patents, trademarks, or copyrights).
    • Create a budget and timeline for protecting core assets.

Global Intellectual Property Considerations

  • Consider the expansion plans of the organization and its target markets when evaluating the need for IP protection internationally.
    • If necessary, file for international IP protection taking into consideration regional differences in IP laws.


  • Implement a monitoring system to monitor potential IP violations and the unauthorized use IP assets.
    • If necessary, take legal action to enforce IP rights if infringements are detected.

Commercialization and IP Licensing

  • Consider licensing or commercializing IP to create additional revenue streams.
    • Negotiate favorable terms and conditions with potential licensees.

Link IP Strategy to Business Goals

It is important to link the intellectual property strategy with business goals in order to maximize the value of IP assets and align them with the success of an organization. When discussing the relationship between IP strategy, and business goals, here are some important points to keep in mind:

Protection of Innovations.

The main goal of an IP Strategy is to protect a company’s innovations. This can be in the form of new products, processes, or technologies. Securing patents, copyrights, or trade secrets for these innovations can help the company protect its competitive edge and stop competitors from copying its offerings.

Market Differentiation

 Intellectual property is a powerful tool for creating a distinct market position. Trademarks can, for instance, help create a brand identity that separates the company from its competitors. A good IP strategy will ensure that your products and services are easily identifiable and distinguishable by customers. This can increase brand loyalty and market shares.

Revenue generation

IP assets are monetized through various methods, which generates additional revenue streams. Licenses of IP to other businesses can be a reliable source of income without incurring significant costs. A good IP strategy will identify licensing, partnership, and joint venture opportunities to maximize the commercial potential.

A strong IP portfolio will give you more negotiating power when it comes to business agreements, collaborations, and partnerships. The company can leverage its IP assets in order to gain favorable terms, gain access to new markets or access valuable technologies that are owned by others.

Intellectual property such as trademarks, patents, and trade secrets can give a company a competitive edge. It shows that a company has products, technologies or services that are innovative and protected against imitation by competitors. Investors and partners who are looking for strong market positions may find this advantage attractive.

IP protection grants the company exclusive rights to license or sell its innovations. This exclusivity creates barriers for competitors to enter the market, allowing a company to dominate a niche. Investors and partners are often interested in companies that offer unique products and services and have the potential to grow and profit sustainably.

IP assets are a potential source of revenue for a company. Licenses of IP can generate a regular income stream without incurring significant operating costs. Investors and partners are interested in companies that have multiple revenue streams. This includes licensing deals.

Intellectual Property can mitigate the risks of investing in a company or partnering up with one. A solid IP strategy can help reduce the risk of legal disputes over IP and the negative impact that IP infringement could have on the business.

IP assets revenue generation

Long-Term Sustainability

A well-managed IP portfolio can contribute towards the long-term sustainability of the company. By protecting its core innovations and technologies, the company is able to maintain its relevance in the market and adapt to changing trends. Investors looking for long-term, stable investments may find this level of foresight attractive.

Brand Recognition and Value

Trademarks play an important role in establishing brand recognition and value. A strong brand is not only attractive to customers, but it also communicates stability and reliability to investors and partners. Brands that are easily recognized will be more likely to gain the trust and confidence of stakeholders.

Defensive strategy

 IP can be used as a defensive tool against potential lawsuits and infringements. By building a strong IP Portfolio, the company will be able to discourage its competitors from challenging it and reduce the risk of legal disputes.

Supporting R&D investments

 Companies invest significant resources into research and development to improve and innovate their products and services. IP strategies ensure that R&D investments are protected and that the results of these efforts can be commercialized.

Attracting Partners and Investors

 A well-structured strategy for IP can make a company more appealing to potential partners and investors. It shows that the company is committed to protecting its intellectual property and innovations, which reduces perceived risks and increases confidence in the long-term prospects of the company.

Global expansion

As businesses expand internationally, an IP strategy is even more important. A comprehensive IP strategy is essential to ensure that a company’s IP rights across jurisdictions are protected. Different countries have different IP laws and regulations.

Avoid the Cost-Canter Trap

Every Head of IP will eventually face cost-reduction demands that exceed his/her abilities, whether this be related to company finances or an attempt by the business to reduce expenditures. A deliberate and strategic approach can help a Head of IP meet these requirements without undermining value creation commitments made or creating ineffective, non-business-aligned cost control practices within his or her organization.

One easy way to increase IP budget efficiency is to cut unnecessary spending on patenting or trademark work, including legal activities that don’t support company growth strategies or that could be covered through other forms of protection (for instance design applications for new products).

Reducing external agent spending should also be prioritized; services that are non-essential to business such as novelty searches or patentability analyses could be delayed and completed in-house instead. Now might also be the time to explore termination options; though this should only be undertaken as a last resort as this could undermine morale within your workforce and affect future IP work quality.

Build Your IP Portfolio Cost Effectively

Companies can protect their innovations with various intellectual property rights such as patents, trademarks, copyrights, and trade secrets to prevent unwarranted infringement of their creations by third parties. Establishing an effective IP portfolio requires careful planning and execution as well as an in-depth knowledge of various protection types’ costs implications and implications for potential use cases.

When times get rough, in-house counsel can quickly shift into crisis management mode, making decisions that have long-term ramifications on a company’s intellectual property (IP) strategy and competitiveness. A frequent misstep is prioritizing cost-cutting measures at the expense of growing its IP portfolio – something which could hinder revenue potential going forward and hamper recovery when market conditions improve.

Cutting IP portfolios without considering business rationale is another common misstep, leading to an anemic and understaffed IP organization that cannot quickly adapt as markets recover. Returning to normal operating levels after a downturn should be seen as an opportunity to learn from past experiences, and implement more disciplined cost control practices which can sustain themselves once conditions improve.

As a final best practice, one key strategy should be building IP proactively with an eye toward future revenue opportunities. This may involve licensing deals, selling assets to third parties, or using it in new products and services based on your IP. One effective method to do this is running regular SWOT analyses to make sure your portfolio reflects where your business stands now as well as where it may move over time.

Apart from actively developing IP, using AI patent assistance software or invention disclosure submission solutions can also ensure that the company’s patent portfolio is cost-effective. Such software can detect overlapped patents and identify filing options that maximize quality while eliminating human error – significantly lowering costs while supporting high levels of quality and speed. A smart approach to external agent work may further decrease costs by eliminating non-critical tasks, such as novelty searches or patentability assessments that don’t support growth; as well as by decreasing frequency.