Use it, don’t lose it: How to get the most from your business with IP

Posted on 10 May, 2022
By Morgan Cao

Imagine this…

You’re a tech pioneer working to establish your business locally and abroad. You collaborate with partners and freely share how your unique technology works. Before you know it, you realise you’ve disclosed too much, and quickly cut off discussions and file for patents to protect your tech.

Well, it may be too late. Your patent application gets rejected for not being “novel”, and you’ve lost your competitive edge in the market, along with years of effort building your business.

How to avoid it

Resource-strapped start-ups and SMEs often focus on driving sales and operations in their race to market, without properly considering an intellectual property (IP) strategy. Yet, exploiting your intangible assets (IA) beyond IP rights may just be what your company needs to grab a larger market share and profits. It could protect your edge in a competitive market not only locally, but when you’re expanding overseas and collaborating with partners to drive innovation.

Let’s look at how two companies have approached IA and IP differently and reaped starkly different results, even in the same market:

Company A is a homegrown manufacturer of industrial cleaning equipment. The company wanted to expand into China and started collaborating with a distributor in Guangzhou.

The company understands that what sets them apart from competitors are their innovative technical solutions and proprietary equipment. To stay competitive beyond Singapore, they first protected their technologies and products by patenting them in Singapore, China and other key markets. Along with that, the company also implemented an IP policy to protect their IP, including non-registrable assets like trade secrets. By covering all their bases with a strong IP portfolio, Company A is empowered to boost business value by exploiting their IA – they actively brand and promote their solutions with the patented features, proactively address infringement, and help set industry benchmarks. With that, potential customers instantly recognise Company A’s product advantages and exclusivity in doing business with them. Soon enough, Company A sees a sharp uptick in sales and profit. Aside from the exclusivity afforded by their patents, Company A’s consistent product quality and broad distribution network also work in tandem to secure their position as a market leader.

On the other hand, Company B, another manufacturer supplying restaurant equipment, expanded rapidly overseas without considering their IA and IP. Company B also wanted to move into China by partnering with a local distributor. In their discussions with the potential distributor, Company B disclosed information that was not protected by any forms of IP at the time. The local distributor realised this and discontinued discussions with Company B, quickly filing patent applications in China based on Company B’s technology. As a result, Company B lost all market potential in China as they no longer owned the exclusive IP rights to their original technology.   

As we see, IP protection is key to building exclusivity around your business. More than that however, strategic IA management is what will help you reap the most value from your innovations. Here are 5 helpful tips to maximise your business value:

•   Know what makes your innovation unique, and how it stands out among your competitors’ solutions – align this with your business goals and R&D efforts to keep sharpening your edge

•   Adopt an IA/IP strategy that supports your business model and goals, such that your IA/IP can be actively put into use in business activities to create real value

•   Leverage the IP system to protect your core IP, in line with your IA/IP strategy

•   Market your products, services, and the entire business model more outstanding with the exclusive business advantages assured by your IA/IP

•   Invest in brand building to create a sustainable business

 

IPOS International helps enterprises and industries use IP and intangible assets for business growth. To learn how you can leverage on your IP, book a complimentary chat session on your intangible assets with us today.

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