Entrepreneurship and innovation go hand in hand, with small independent firms and sole inventors consistently among those at the cutting edge of the technology industry. So while many factors may be weighing on the minds of these ambitious professionals as they begin to scale out operations, intellectual property management frameworks certainly deserve their attention.
According to Electronic Design contributing columnist and IBM executive Paul Brody, intellectual assets enjoy unique standing in the technology sector. Patentable ideas are much trickier to identify and protect than physical goods, but their potential value could be far higher.
"From the employee ideas that go unnoticed to the licensing income not collected, a strong intellectual property program ensures these opportunities are captured and maximized," Brody wrote. "How a firm's IP is protected has serious implications: it influences the competition, the return on research and design investment and the bottom line."
As a result, aspiring innovators must outline a plan for the predictable expansion and protection of their portfolios from the earliest days of operation.
Companies can begin by establishing a repeatable process by which employees can submit and review new ideas. According to VentureBeat, companies will need to sort out the contract terms of all in-house staff and independent contractors early on so that both sides understand what they have to gain by disclosing a potential invention through the proper channels. Once this fine print is settled, research teams can move forward feeling confident their hard work will be rewarded.