Intellectual Property

“Intellectual Property” encompasses patents, trademarks, trade secrets, copyrights, and related forms of legal protection for intangible property. As someone who served as VP of Intellectual Property for the world’s largest PC company, Ephraim Starr has a wealth of knowledge and innovative approaches to making IP a tangible driver of better business results, whether through enforcement of IP rights, licensing and freedom-to-operate programs, or IP process and portfolio optimization.

Many (maybe most) companies lack a firm grasp of their intellectual property. They might know how many patents they have, but might not understand what those patents cover, or even if they cover their own products. This can happen for many reasons. First, patents have a long lifespan—20 years from the application date. This means that by year 15, for example, the inventors of the patent might not be at the company anymore. And the company’s memory is only as good as its documentation and the people that are still there. Second, patent claims are also horribly complex. To wit, the reason there are ever court trials in patent cases is because sometimes even the best lawyers in the world disagree about the scope of patent claims.

Ask yourself, “Does my company have a good database that identifies what each patent covers?” If not, you may lack coverage that you think you have, or you may be paying significant sums of money to maintain patents that are unimportant. Also ask yourself, “Am I getting the most for my money with the outside firms I use to prosecute my company’s patents?” How do you know? What kind of benchmarking have you done? There are many ways to make an IP program more robust and provide your company with a legal competitive advantage; or, conversely, to cut costs without creating negative repercussions for the company. If you want to learn about any of the options for making IP a tangible driver of your business performance, or a more cost-effective one, contact Ephraim Starr, pllc for guidance.