If you’re wondering what an intellectual property portfolio is, or why it’s important, then take a second and imagine selling your company.
You’re sitting across the table from potential buyers, excitedly telling them about your efficient manufacturing processes, your exciting marketing videos, your recognizable logo…until they ask if you have the proper registrations in place.
You kind of laugh and shrug and say no, I don’t, but it doesn’t make much of a difference, and it seemed like this whole process…
If you do that, you’re shooting yourself in the foot. By not registering the most valuable parts of your business, your company loses a ton of value. Instead, start building an intellectual property portfolio.
What is an intellectual property portfolio?
An intellectual property portfolio is a word for all the registrations you have on your company. It’s a mix of patents, trademarks, and copyrights, depending on what, exactly, you’re registering. (For a full explanation of the difference between registering a trademark, a copyright, and a patent, click here.)
But you shouldn’t just register absolutely everything–because, first of all, you can’t. Instead, you’ll want to make sure your portfolio is as valuable as possible, and this requires identifying and registering the most valuable parts of your company.
How can you build an intellectual property portfolio?
Or, more accurately, how can you tell which parts of your company are the most valuable? It comes down to a couple concrete questions.
- What are the parts of your company that could be registered? Start broad to narrow it down. Do you own a video production company? Then your logo, marketing mascot, ad copy, and possibly your video production process (if it’s particularly unique) could all be registered.
- What is your company’s competitive advantage? Sometimes this is something intangible, like treating employees and customers with respect. But when it’s something you can register–like your employee handbooks–make sure you do!
An intellectual property portfolio is also something you should build regardless of your company’s size.
If you’re a one-person show, it’s that much easier to track your new developments and content creation and register it accordingly.
If you own a larger company, you’ll want to put together a process so employees can easily let you know when they’ve created something new that can (and should) be registered.
Benefits of an intellectual property portfolio
What’s the main benefit of an intellectual property portfolio? VALUE!
When it comes time to sell, any buyers will be able to look at your registrations as hard-and-fast evidence of your value, secure in the knowledge that they’ll likely make money off your former company.
This is because no competitors will (legally) be able to swoop in and steal your trade secrets without facing a lawsuit. And on the other side of the coin, no competitors can accuse your company of copyright infringement if you have drawers full of properly registered copyrights.
I know it may seem like a process, but every registration you file increases your value, so don’t delay! Start ensuring your hard work will one day work for you by building your intellectual property portfolio, one little registration at a time.