From start-up to market – the importance of IP along the way

Frances Salisbury discusses IP position and the benefits of owning IP…

Your IP position will usually be considered as part of an investor’s due diligence procedures. Having a series of IP rights at different stages of maturity can demonstrate that you are an innovative business. For patent applications, it is common to have an application filed at an early stage that relates to the concept underlying your technology, with a series of later applications relating to incremental improvements, as the project matures. As each patent lasts a maximum of around 20 years, the later-filed applications ensure that you have patent coverage for the marketed product for as long as possible.

Another benefit to owning IP is that it can provide you with an income stream through licensing. You might allow a licensee to use your technology in another territory, a different technological field, or in a specific product, in exchange for a fee or for the use of their technology. You might also use your IP rights to establish a foundation for research with a collaborator, or in a joint venture, producing new IP together.

There can be other financial benefits to owning IP too. Where your patented technology is already being used in a product, you might benefit from the UK PatentBox scheme to reduce the amount of corporation tax you have to pay.

Tomorrow… other people’s IP rights.