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Commercialise Your Intellectual Property
Intellectual Property (IP) can be immensely valuable in enhancing a business’s reputation, but not every business employs its IP in the most effective way. A company’s IP can make a business or product appear unique and set it apart from its competitors, and in this sense, IP assets can be even more valuable than some tangible assets.
However, having a valuable IP asset is not enough. Knowing how to protect the IP is key in ensuring that it remains valuable, therefore enhancing a company’s valuation and goodwill, and preventing competitors from gaining an unfair advantage by infringing upon your IP.
At JMW Solicitors, our IP law team has extensive experience in advising clients on what constitutes IP, which of their intangible assets qualify for legal protection and what steps they can take to detect and shut down imitators.
We’ve helped many businesses to commercialise their IP and turn what may be an underappreciated asset into a new revenue stream. We can also provide specialist legal advice on licensing IP, registering trademarks, and accurately valuing IP so that you can ensure you receive a fair price if you sell your intellectual property.
If you would like to know more about options for protecting and leveraging your business’ IP, contact us on 0345 872 6666. Alternatively, fill in our online enquiry form to request a call back at a convenient time.
How JMW Can Help
Our broad expertise in IP law means we can advise different parties and provide advice on many different aspects of intellectual property commercialisation and protection. The commercialisation of IP is worth getting right, which is why it is important to seek advice from legal experts in the field. Some of the services we can provide include:
- Reviewing your IP portfolio and advising on the best ways to commercialise your IP depending on your IP assets and commercial objectives.
- Assisting in registering trademarks, including advising on any risks associated with registering your chosen trademarks.
- If acting for a licensee, advising on licensing arrangements and ensuring they are watertight so that, while you receive a healthy income from your IP rights, these rights are not diluted or in any other way prejudiced by the licensees’ use.
- If acting for a licensor, advising the licensor on how it can exercise more autonomy on its branding.
- If acting for a licensee or an assignee, advising on whether the royalties payable is excessive for the value of the brand, and assisting in negotiating an alternative fee, if appropriate.
- When acting for a licensor or assignor, advising on whether the royalties payable are sufficient in capturing the value of assigned or licensed brand.
- If acting for the assignee or franchisor, ensuring a thorough IP due diligence on the assignor and/or franchisee is conducted and analysing the results for any associated risks. We can then advise on any areas of risks and provide commercial solutions on overcoming such risks, in line with your commercial objectives.
- Advising on non-disclosure agreements to ensure confidential information shared during the negotiation process is not divulged afterwards (especially applicable for assignment agreements).
Ways to Commercialise Your Intellectual Property
There are a number of ways businesses can protect and commercialise IP, because the term ‘intellectual property’ itself covers a wide variety of different intangible assets. Below, we’ve outlined some of the main strategies businesses may consider, but it’s important to speak to a specialist solicitor to determine what intellectual property assets you have and how best to exploit them.
Registration of a trademark is an important step in protecting a brand, protecting goodwill associated with the business and preventing third parties from infringing or imitating a brand. If you intend to sell your business or secure investment, having a registered trademark will increase your credibility and make you appear more attractive to a prospective buyer.
Assigning or selling intellectual property rights
This involves the transfer of ownership of IP rights from one entity and/or individual to another. This will be especially useful for companies that have made consistent and long-term use of their IP during the course of trading and consequently, enhanced the value of their branding and goodwill associated with the IP.
Following the sale or assignment of an IP asset, the seller will receive royalties for the time and funds they have spent developing the IP asset.
Licensing intellectual property rights
This involves the holder of an intellectual property asset (licensor) granting permission for the use of its IP to another entity and/or individual (licensee), within the limits set by the provisions of the licensing agreement.
Licensing agreements can take various forms. For instance, an entity may provide a trademark licence to a third party in exchange for royalties, which may include using the licensor’s trademark or an association with its brand, in exchange for an annual licence fee. Alternatively, a company may choose to enter into a franchising agreement, which would allow the franchisee to operate its business under the brand of the franchisor and assist in enhancing the franchisee’s reputation and valuation (depending on how valuable the franchisor’s brand is).
If you are intending to license your IP rights, you can do so by providing exclusive (i.e. only the licensee is able to use the licensed IP, and not the licensor) or non-exclusive licensing rights (i.e. the licensee and the licensor can both use the licensed IP).
Valuing your Intellectual Property
The value of your IP is possibly the most important consideration when it comes to commercialising your intangible assets. Ultimately, the main goal for an assignor or licensor is to ensure they are receiving the best possible value for selling or licensing the IP. There are a number of ways to value IP, including:
- Assessing levels of future earnings expected from the IP;
- Evaluating costs incurred during the production and development of the IP; and
- Conducting market research to understand how much third parties may be willing to pay for other similar IP assets.
Our team has years of combined experience in IP cases, and has a strong understanding of how much different intangible assets are worth. We can ensure that you are paid fairly for any use or sale of your IP by a third party.