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Four steps to start making money from your IP

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Step 3: Commercialise it

IP rights are all about being in a unique space. However for the right business and product or service, the most powerful and valuable aspect of protecting IP rights can be sharing them with others for everyone’s benefits by licensing or franchising all or part of your offering.

To do this successfully, you need to:

  • Have an established, tried and tested business model, with protectable IP such as key brands, trade marks, expertise and know-how
  • Find the right licensee with a similar business ethos, interest and drive to you
  • Ensure both parties operate on fair and reasonably flexible terms 
  • Get the framework spot on by investing in the right legal and accounting advice

There are other ways to make money from your IP – such as distribution agreements, reseller agreements, original equipment manufacturer agreements, agency agreements and research and development agreements. A good IP lawyer will be able to advise on the best route for your business, make the most of any deal and avoid any potential pitfalls that could eat into your profits.

Step 4: Enforce it

Protect your IP in the correct way and you are on your way to increasing the value and appeal of your business, as well as being in a strong position to make money from commercialisation of your IP.

When it comes to IP, identifying, protecting, commercialising and enforcing it shouldn’t be left to one individual in the company – it should be everyone’s responsibility. 

All employees need to understand the value of the business’s IP and see it as a valuable asset which can not only make the business a success but actually help it to occupy a unique position in the market place.

Elizabeth Ward is founder of Virtuoso Legal and author of If You’re So Clever Why Aren’t You Rich?.

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