How SME’S Can Strategically Manage IP During Economic Events

In uncertain times – either for a business or an economy as a whole, finance and cash flow management is a critical aspect to ensure sustainability of the business both in the short and long term. For SME’s holding or needing to support their IP (patents, trademarks, etc), it is even more critical as working capital is required for ongoing IP related costs as well as continued investment to ensure future rights are still available once these difficult times have been weathered.

Step 1: IP audits – Prioritization matrix of assets (patents, trade secrets, trademarks). Seek to answer “What assets do we have, and how do we prioritize and manage them efficiently for maximum benefit? What is our IP inventory to use?”

Step 2: IP budgeting – At least a 3, 6, and 18 month budget laid over the audit output. Seek to answer “What are my cash flow considerations, and business impacts on our ability to retain and continue to invest in IP over time?”

Step 3: IP operations & talent impacts  – preparing for right-sizing also means ensuring operational IP knowledge is transferred, and exit-interviews need to be conducted to ensure departing employees are aware of their trade secret obligations. Seek to answer: “Are we able to ensure continuity of portfolio management? Do we have IP policies in place to limit or prevent trade secret theft?”

Source: NorthworksIP / Cowan & Associates Management Ltd.

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