Well, eventually answer to this question has to be yes! Though, this article covers tips on how to avoid unnecessary consulting advice or attorney fees on matters that can be worked in-house. Start-Ups are like a self employed doctor. They initially tend to solve problems of the patient that they can afford to solve using all of their resources which eventually sum up to be the doctor himself. Doc at his early stage cannot afford to hire a part-time neuro-surgeon for solving problems outside his own scope. Eventually, when he grows the clinic in size, he hires other specialists to solve his own or his patients’ problems. Managing Innovations follow the same logic with only difference in lifecycle and pace of growth.Technology focused start-ups are confused at the first instance whether their technology is protectable by law? If the answer is yes, next question would be how much would it cost and whether it’s worth the investment? Also, if you are a long-term thinker then you might also ask yourself whether I must install some procedures in place to manage innovations internally and encourage my team to innovate. All of this will require help from a patent specialists and/or innovation managers. It’s not worth a shot to hire these people if you are only 20% positive on these three questions mentioned above. Let us walk through the process as to how can you conduct a preliminary subjective analysis to these questions at hand and be at least 50% sure before hiring them.
1) Maintain Records and Invention Disclosures - It seems trivial enough, but a lack of discipline to do so cost you lot of time and money at the end. Maintaining all possible inventions within your company by keeping records of invention disclosures. What are invention disclosures? To sum up in a line, it’s your own record keeping document created by you in an indexed format like any other form covering invention description and other related information that might be useful at a later stage by you, your colleagues, your lawyers, or your innovation managers. Just Google invention disclosure forms and you will get tons of samples.
2) Conduct a preliminary patent search – We can walk through a series of articles covering this topic on searching existing patent documents, but if you need a quick tutorial please visit this document by the European Union or a seven step strategy suggested by United States Patent Office. Patent Documents are neat and clean and well indexed, thus searching them makes easy as well as difficult at the same time as there are so many indexed fields. Get aware of the patent terminology and how to search by keywords and classifications and you will be good. There are free search engines like Google Patents (US Patents Only), EspaceNet (Worldwide Patents), US Patent Office, Indian Patent Office (Indian Patents Only), and many others.
3) Let them make you self sustainable – Many a times we ask our clients (technology start-ups) as to what have they learned in the process and the answer is that they got exposed to patent terminology and searching basics so they can conduct a preliminary if not an accurate search later on. Ask your consultants to train you in the process of protecting and managing your inventions so that you don’t need to hire them for trivial tasks again and again. A lawyer, consultant, or managers’ job is to help you in specialized tasks and not the trivial ones.
At the last, you cannot avoid hiring them in your business pursuits but you can definitely reduce your costs and prevent re-hiring for same trivial tasks.
INNOVACCER (Innovation Accelerated) is an innovation management and acceleration company focused and dedicated to provide high quality innovation management services to accelerate every step of an innovation life-cycle. InnovAccer was founded with a vision of people in the fields of Intellectual Property, Business Innovation, and Technology to change and accelerate the creation of innovation ecosystem in India. InnovAccer’s team comes from a varied background of engineers graduated from IITs, intellectual property specialists graduated from Franklin Pierce Law Center, USA, analysts, statisticians, and business innovation experts.