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IP Considerations in Business

Updated: Oct 2, 2021

While working with entrepreneurs, I was frequently asked how vital is IP (specifically patent rights) to their venture making. Here is a high-level reference, and each sub-topic contains a lot more depth and nuances:

Generally, at a high-level management consideration, patent filing go-no-go can be summarized as follows:

  1. If a company has the intention to manufacture, consider protecting invention with a territorial filing,

  2. If a company has the intention to sell, consider patent protection in the territorial of filing

  3. If the company intends to exclude competition from the territorial of filing, IP requires a further consideration (below).

  4. Else, generally, it may be seen as little cost-benefit to file IP.

For a more careful consideration, value to IP can be categorized into 4 areas:

1. Offensive Value (particularly scientific breakthrough)

  • Non-exclusive out-licensing of a patent for cash

  • Non-exclusive out-licensing of the patent plus tech transfer (man-hours/demo kit/etc.) for cash

  • Exclusive field-of-use licensing for non-core markets

  • Cross-licensing with net cash plus

  • Sale of IP (with or without grant back to use license)

2. Defensive Value

  • Freedom of operation, deterrence or settlement of competitor IP infringement claims

  • Cross-licensing with zero or negative cash

  • Exclusive field-of-use licensing in non-core markets

  • IP in place of cash as a contribution to joint venture or strategic alliance

3. Strategic Value

  • The price premium for products/services with patented features (subjective price elasticity)

  • Market share protection/expansion

  • Share price support/improvement

4. Enterprise Value

  • Enhance corporate value to potential acquirers/investors (subjective effectiveness, depending on the exclusivity of the invention)

Feel free to share your thoughts on IP. Participate in the online forum to share your tips -

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1 Comment

Patrick Ng
Patrick Ng
Feb 06, 2021

Yes, IP value can become tangible.

For a product & service business, one way to quantify its value is to identify the NPV of the business venture that it is associated with.

Consider the impact of being denied and locked out of the business, or the cost of mitigation and getting back in.

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