Hitting the ground running after COVID-19: using downtime to protect your intangibles

By Wendy Lamson
May 22, 2020

As the economy recovers, innovation will become even more important than ever as we transition to an economy that is increasingly knowledge-based.  Getting ahead of the curve in terms of protecting your intangibles could give your company a significant competitive advantage in the new economy that emerges after the dust settles.  With many research staff working from home, now is a great time to get on top of those IP related activities on your list that otherwise might get put on the backburner.

More and more research-based companies are engaging in what is referred to as “invention mining”, which simply means identifying and documenting innovation within a company.  This often takes the form of an invention disclosure program comprising documenting inventions in an invention disclosure form that scientists fill out describing their invention.

However, during better times, this kind of activity may be put on the backburner when a scientist’s time might be better spent generating data or working on product development.  With more scientists and engineers working remotely, any downtime could be used to catch up on documenting their inventions.  For start-ups with no invention tracking system in place, this is a great opportunity to take the steps to implement such a system in their organization.

With so many research staff working from home, other IP-related activities that may be put aside during better times, such as examining freedom-to-operate in view of third party patents, can be brought to the fore.  Searching and reviewing third party patents with technical experts in your organization will give a company a leg up when the economy returns to normal.  If problematic patents are identified from a patent search that pose an infringement risk, with the help of a patent agent, it may be possible to design around them early on to avoid infringement risk or to explore licensing opportunities.

Those companies with a strong IP portfolio and that have taken measures to reduce IP infringement risk in the new economy that emerges will have a significant competitive advantage.  Our IP team here at Perley is happy to help you protect your intangibles and make sure that you emerge stronger than ever from the pandemic.

Of course, the above discussion is not legal advice and any specific questions you have concerning intellectual property matters should be directed to one of our IP professionals.


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