Protecting Assets and Increasing Company Value In order to compete in the age of information, globalization, and trade liberalization, even companies competing exclusively in domestic markets must become internationally competitive. This requires businesses to make significant investments in R&D and innovationnew technology and machineryimproved practises, and marketing of their product or services in order to increase efficiency, cut costs, and enhance their reputations in the long term. Attaining Intellectual Property (IP) rights meaningfully reduces the risk of innovation by effectively protecting valuable investments which your company has made to remain competitive. What is a Patent? A Patent is a set of exclusive IP rights granted by a sovereign state to an inventor or assignee for a limited period of time in exchange for detailed public disclosure of an invention. An invention refers to any product or process that provides a new way of doing something, or that offers a new technical solution to a problem. This includes a process or method, a machine (and technology to be used on machines), a manufactured article, a new composition, or an improvement to any of these. In fact, most patents are acquired for incremental improvements in known technology. Why Should I Obtain a Patent? IP is a critical intangible asset in today’s knowledge-based economy that can be harvested in a variety of ways to financially strengthen businesses of all sizes and in many industries on an ongoing basis. For smaller businesses, securing a patent can increase company valuation, which you can then leverage to attain further sources of funding from financial institutions, private investors and government agencies. As such, patent ownership is of particular value to startups as it provides a strong indication of future success for VC investors. Research has repeatedly shown that patent ownership increases the probability of success for a startup, prior to and following venture capital investments, especially in the software and biotechnology sectors. Acquiring a patent allows startups to obtain exclusive rights over their invention, strengthen their market position, receive higher returns on their investments, increase their negotiating power, and create a positive image for their enterprise, in addition to providing an opportunity to license or sell the investment. Likewise, new and improved products and services that are developed by larger companies can be patented and commercialized, patented and sold or licensed, or the inventive process can be kept secret while the product is commercialized. All of these forms of IP protection and management can substantially increase your bottom line. Key manufacturing processes and methods that are necessary to make a product or to reduce its cost can provide competitive business advantages even when the product itself is not patentable. In addition, business-method patents can protect unique or novel ways of conducting business as exemplified by the build-to-order business model developed by Dell, which dramatically reduced the cost of delivery to customers. Furthermore, patents can also provide increased revenues from license fees, which require little overhead while contributing significantly to a company’s bottom line. For businesses of all sizes, IP protection facilitates continued investments in innovation by providing an innovation-based advantage and new market territory that is free of competition, for the length of the patent.
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