Do you have a conscious intellectual property (IP) strategy?

A robust and comprehensive IP strategy that is well integrated into the business plan is the hallmark of companies that succeed in international markets. Managing intangible assets can be crucial to achieving the company's goals.

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Why do I need an IP strategy?

Appropriate use of intellectual property rights in innovation can help to create and secure value, and to avoid wrong investments. An IP strategy provides guidelines for how intangible assets are to be identified and - when relevant - protected, maintained, defended and exploited commercially.

A well-developed strategy for this can give your company important and lasting competitive advantages. Correct use of these rights will then be just as important for commercial success as financing, marketing and sales.

Companies with effective IP strategies place their exclusive rights (patents, trademarks and designs) on an equal footing with other assets in the accounts.

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What assets does the company have?

Start by mapping the company's intangible resources. Which of these are the key values, which are most important to achieving the company's business goals? Are there any values missing? Get an overview of who owns the key values. It is also important to highlight intangible assets in the accounts and to owners, partners and other stakeholders.

What will the intangible values and rights be used for?

Among other things, it can be created through products and services, as well as through licensing and the sale of rights.

Rights are important as documentation and security for investors, banking institutions and other funding sources.

Current methods of cooperation can be cooperation between businesses, through the establishment of joint ventures or open innovation.

This is, among other things, to ensure room for maneuver for technological development, block competitors, control the value chain and build reputation.

– For us, it is important to secure our IP rights in an established market consisting of large players. By having a solid IPR strategy, we show that we take the topic seriously and can thus prevent copying of the product.

Jonas Fossnes Blekastad

CEO Compax Solutions AS

Black and white image of Jonas Fossnes Blekastad smiling at camera

Jonas Fossnes Blekastad

CEO Compax Solutions AS

How should the business handle the intangible assets?

Put in place internal routines that elicit ideas from your own employees, and ensure that ownership of the ideas is determined. Does the management know what the employees are sitting on in terms of knowledge? It is also important to clarify what the company owns and what the employee can take with them. There is a need for agreements, proposals, guidelines and routines for the registration of employee inventions, routines for reviewing the strategic importance and the extent of protection it requires, routines for reviewing the portfolio with a view to renewals, follow-up of competitors, routines for intervention etc.

Does the company keep its secrets well enough? Ensure good information security and confidentiality, and enter into agreements both with own employees, consultants and subcontractors to the business. Certain requirements must be met for information to be considered a trade secret, and it is important that the business is aware of and adjusts to these.

Identify what the company can do without infringing the rights of others (freedom to operate). Find out what others have done, and what you can build on without violating other people's rights.

Secure patents, trademarks and design protection.

Monitor rights to see what important competitors are doing or keep track of whether others are infringing your company's rights.

Decide how this should be done, and get help from experts.

– If you have made exciting scientific discoveries, be sure to initiate a patenting process early. It is important to have a good IP strategy before essential information ends up in the public domain, otherwise you may lose the opportunity to patent.

Ingrid Teigland Ok

managing partner in Hadean Ventures


Ingrid Teigland Ok

managing partner in Hadean Ventures