Intellectual property (IP) can have commercial value. In order to properly commercial value of IP, one must understand the options to do so. Maximizing monetization hinges on developing, protecting, and leveraging your IP. We explore each of these facets in turn:
Ideas can’t be protected. Partially completed works usually cannot be either. Instead, and subject to certain limitations, the U.S. government recognizes and rewards “progress of science and useful arts, by securing for limited times to authors and inventors the exclusive right to their respective writings and discoveries” (U.S. Constitution, Art. I, §8). In some states, like California, they recognize rights to a companies’ valuable confidential information (called trade secrets) that cover a “formula, pattern, compilation, program, device, method, technique, or process[es].” Cal. Civ. §3426.1
In other words, the first step in monetizing your intellectual property is to develop it. A minimum threshold of completion of your invention, brand, art, or know-how is a necessary first step to maximizing the value of that intellectual property (intellectual property is an intangible asset). For example, a new technology has to be shown to actually work. A brand must at least be in the advertised in the marketplace. An artwork requires a minimum level of creativity and should be considered finished to the artist, at least for that particular round of presentation. These rules apply irrespective of whether you are a business or an individual.
Once you meet that minimum threshold of completion, there are various types of legal protection available (as further described in copyright, trademark, patent, and trade secret law). Determining which protection is available, practical, and necessary, depends on your business and entrepreneurial goals and this varies for each individual client.
While not a strict requirement for obtaining intellectual property rights (except patents which require registration), the most expedient way to have a court recognize those rights is to register them with the government. A registration creates a presumption of rights. A presumption of rights basically means a court must assume you have rights, unless shown otherwise.
A registration is often looked upon by most business people - except perhaps those with litigation experience - as an absolute right. And most investors and other market participants tend to look very favorably upon registered intellectual property.
Why? Because in order to obtain a registration, one must pass the government’s fairly rigorous tests. It’s important to remember when a government tests a piece of intellectual property, this means it has been examined by the government’s scientists and/or attorneys. In other words, the intellectual property has already been under a round of scrutiny and has been proved it is worthy of the presumption of rights.
Successful monetization allows you to leverage your intangible assets to generate additional streams of revenue. But the monetization of intellectual property is not a static, uniform process. Developing a successful monetization strategy requires considering various factors including:
Below is are the most common monetizing strategies:
Below is a short (non-comprehensive) list of specialized monetizing strategies:
The attorneys at Nexio Law Firm are committed to helping our clients achieve their business objectives and maximize return on their talent and inventions. If you decide to create and implement an IP monetizing strategy, it’s important to do all the necessary preparation to ensure your intellectual property—and your business—are well protected under the law. We’re here to help you every step of the way. We can be reached at (949) 478-6830 or complete the contact form and we’ll be in touch soon.