The average cost of a single patent can run into the several thousands; trademarks are a lower, but still significant, investment. Even trade secrets can cost money as you need to set up security infrastructure. If you’re a company with any kind of innovation or brand value you want to protect, it can seem daunting to pursue formal IP rights. Can you afford to have an IP strategy? 

    The real question is can you afford NOT to have one! (Spoiler alert – you can’t.) All companies, not just tech companies, need an IP strategy to maximize value and reduce risk. Not all companies need to use all types of intellectual property, but all companies will need to consider trademarks and copyrights at a minimum (and you may even have innovations worth protecting in ways that you haven’t considered yet) and would likely benefit from a discerning evaluation from an IP expert. 

    It is not enough to simply file a patent and call it a ‘strategy.’ An IP strategy (at least a good one) must cover all types of IP relevant to a company, and will typically include a healthy mix of patents, trademarks, trade secrets, and copyright. For example, a tech company must consider the value of using a combination of trade secrets and patents instead of patenting everything.  

    The misuse of open-source software and AI can bring undue copyright related risks that can be mitigated with proper IP policies. IP searching – landscapes, patentability, competitors – is essential to developing a sound IP strategy and should be repeated regularly to benefit from the insights. These are just examples of elements that should be considered in an IP strategy.  

    Your IP strategy should evolve over time and must be designed and adapted with the end in mind. You should ask yourself, “What is the ultimate goal of the IP portfolio? Valuation, offensive, defensive, licensing, divesting?” Have you considered what markets are lucrative in the long term and may be worth pursuing IP rights in? 

    After the design of the IP strategy, an ongoing, intentional, proactive, and pragmatic implementation of the IP strategy is essential.  

    Investing in designing and implementing an IP strategy that keeps your goals and business objectives in mind can help you save money in the long term because you are assigning budget dollars based on a predetermined plan, instead of filing and responding in a piecemeal fashion. Not to mention that there are several cost-reduction programs you should consider taking advantage of.

    Luckily, the Canadian federal and provincial governments also recognize the value of a solid IP strategy, and they are providing funds to help companies leverage expert assistance. There are several government grants and programs available to Canadian companies to help develop and implement a solid IP strategy customized to each business-specific objectives and stages.  These non-refundable grants cover IP education programs, IP strategy review and design, IP strategy implementation and IP protection (covering patent and trademark filings). 

    There is a wealth of funding available with minimum submission overhead that can help your company maximize its value and reduce IP related risks. We can help you access the right programs! You can’t afford not to! 


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    About Stratford Intellectual Property: Our team of IP professionals includes certified patent agents, strategic advisors and internationally recognized experts experienced in every aspect of the IP lifecycle, giving you access to a unique blend of IP and business expertise. We lean in to foster a culture of innovation in your organization and optimize your IP portfolio to reduce risk and increase ROI.

    If you have questions about your organization’s IP strategy or want to learn about training options for IP protection, please contact Stratford Intellectual Property.