Whether you are looking to launch a new venture, undertake a change of direction, or introduce a new product or service, you should be asking some fundamental questions before you Go To Market. But deeper still, the primary marketing oriented questions in most Go To Market plans have a parallel track of challenges in the Intellectual Property (IP) dimension. Today’s article will deal with several early challenges in this process, and some very initial challenges for your consideration.

 Which Market?

Assuming you have winning value proposition – which is a BIG assumption – which market are you targeting? Consider that potential IP protection will need to be filed in every jurisdiction where you will want to protect your idea. This can be really expensive, so it requires intelligent strategizing and budgeting that integrates much marketing and business planning.

 Also, are you targeting end users, manufacturers, importers? Your IP filings should be optimized to prevent your target market from being able to use your idea without your permission. Protecting yourself from the wrong target market is kind of a waste of resources!

Is the Idea Scalable?

 Can your idea be implemented in software, sold as a kit to be assembled, or sold as a standalone device? Also, must your idea interface with other systems, platforms or devices? The implementation  environment of your idea may well need to be studied to understand where protection may be possible, if at all. Different types of IP may cover different aspects of your idea, and different aspects may or may not be protectable in your selected jurisdictions.

Furthermore, how will you optimally make revenues from sales – from unit sales, technology licensing, selling of means of production? Your claims should be tailored to cover the most likely use cases, where you perceive your idea will be needed by others once this idea hits the market.

 Is My Team Ready?

Assuming your idea has been developed by team members, besides yourself, are you sure you know who the inventors are, what rights they have, and what obligations they have. Problematic inventor recording and recognition procedures may not only demotivate your team members, but may even invalidate your IP down the line.

Smart IP incentive programs, inventor training and fair procedures may go a long way to motivating towards innovation and keeping your team on board.

 Which Technology?

One of the problems IP experts often face is inventors who think that all they are doing is obvious. They often are too close to the technology to realize the technological jumps they have made, and may therefore miss opportunities to disclose potentially valuable IP. Your team should be aware of what constitutes potentially patentable technology.

 Further, it may be critical to know about what exists or has been patented, through market and/or patent searches. Such knowledge may help avoid a helpless or even dangerous initiative, and may aid the search for new ways to achieve your goals, and the potential development of new important IP that will get around the prior art and change the rules of the game.

 How to Compete?

Have you considered all the possible or feasible revenue plans? What will you be charging for that the customer will be prepared to pay for? If you want to challenge the market with a low cost alternative, and you were able to produce this alternative through improved processes, can these be protected by a process patent? If you are providing a better featured product or service, and the point of improvement is due to a new technology introduced, perhaps this new combination can be protected by a technology patent describing this combination of elements.

Additionally, your market penetration may be brand focused, and not technologically based. Maybe you dont need to waste your money on patents, but you may need a brand protection strategy in place. If you hope to be the next “Coca Cola”, is your trade secret safe. Trade secrets are free to maintain, but once they get out the box, their value may evaporate before your eyes, with little possibility of recovery.

Of course, there are many, many more scenarios and challenges, but I hope these initial challenge points will turn your minds towards these critical factors that may require IP guidance and support as you go ahead on your way to capture the market.

This article was written by Yaron Damelin Patenting Solutions – Personal IP Management

E-mail: Yaron@patentingsolutions.com