Intellectual property is not always the first priority for SME businesses but by taking a proactive approach to patents, trade marks and designs at an early stage an SME business can greatly improve its competitive position. By following some basic principles IP can significantly help grow revenue and defend a business from competitive threats.
Regardless of the industry sector, in today’s knowledge-driven economy it is likely that your business will have created innovative ideas and know-how, produced distinctive marketing materials or created bespoke designs. If this IP is left unprotected, it could have a detrimental effect on the long-term viability of your business. Our attorneys are very experienced in working with SMEs to identify unprotected IP. We take a systematic approach to identifying all IP within a business and will provide you with a pragmatic assessment of the associated risks in relation to the long-term aims and objectives of your business to help you decide on the most appropriate level of protection required.
A key aspect of our approach is the avoidance of IP-related litigation. We know how damaging any form of litigation can be for an SME – it is extremely expensive and may ultimately lead to the demise of a business. For this reason we always seek to ensure that business owners are not leaving themselves open to any possible IP-related dispute, such as using IP that belongs to another business. In such instances we would recommend purchasing the rights or acquiring a licence to use it as any subsequent dispute could ultimately threaten the very survival of the business.
For many SMEs it is likely that the owners will either be following a growth strategy that requires further outside investment or will be open to offers to sell the business. In both cases the strength of the IP will be tested through the due-diligence process and will likely be central to the valuation of the business and the successful conclusion of any deal.
By following established IP principles at an early stage the IP due-diligence process should not be a major problem, but where a lack of foresight has occurred our attorneys are highly experienced in getting businesses “IP due-diligence ready”. This may provide the opportunity to achieve the value you want rather than allowing the buyer or investor to leverage poor administration as an excuse to drive down the value, or even walk away.
If you would like to know more about our services for SME businesses then please get in touch. We welcome enquiries and will be delighted to explain in more detail why you should consider GJE for your IP needs.