What Business Angels and VCs need to know about IP

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This article introduces intellectual property to business angels, venture capitalists and other investors.

After some basic information on intellectual property law the article sets out the following simple 6-point strategy for determining whether intellectual property protection for a particular asset is required at all and, if so, the optimum protection:

1. Choose a business planning period.

2. Identify revenue streams for your business in that period.

3. Consider possible threats to those revenue streams.

4. Think about possible countermeasures to those threats, remembering that most of those countermeasures will be commercial and not legal.

5. If legal protection is needed, choose the optimal IP for the asset.

6. Ensure adequate funding for enforcement.

This strategy would have averted a catastrophic failure to protect a new technology despite the grant of 18 patents which a well-known American strategist discussed in her blog.

The article concludes that patenting and other intellectual property protection is too important to be left to patent agents and R & D staff. Businesses need to harness the talents, skills and experience of all their professionals: accountants, brand consultants, lawyers and others. As that may not necessarily be obvious to entrepreneurs it is up to angels, VCs and other inventors to encourage them.

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