- Intellectual Property, IP, legal, Njord, Patents, Peter Olson, Trademarks
What are key issues I should know about in protecting my intellectual property (IP)?
Intellectual property assets are some of the most important assets a company has. You should know the VALUE of these, whether they are your own or you are selling or acquiring them.
Intellectual Property includes:
- Trademarks and domain names
- Trade secrets
- Patents and designs
At our April 26 2016 event at Njord, we learned from Peter Olson, Partner at Njord Law Firm, the critical importance of protecting your IP in the US market, which has different rules than the EU has. Peter is a lawyer accredited in both US and Denmark, and has many years of experience in trademarks, designs, and domain names.
Peter reviewed several examples of each type of IP, as well as some of the latest litigation cases (for example, Samsung vs Apple). He talked about the trend in “Do-it-yourself” IP, where companies register on the internet and think they are protected but they are NOT. Key issues are that they often lose “novelty”, and don’t have the best or even good protection. Conflicts arise and then it gets even more expensive, needing more legal help than you would have if you used a good lawyer from the start.
It is critical to do “IP due diligence” right at the early stages – checking carefully who owns the IP, whether there are any timing issues (rights that will expire), enforcement history. Due diligence is not the glamorous part of doing deals but is necessary. He provided a great checklist of steps you should go through to understand the value of your own IP or any that you are considering purchasing.
- Identify the intellectual property assets that are the subject-matter of the transaction
- Confirm the status of the intellectual property rights as still in force or pending
- Confirm the right of the licensor or divesting party to enter the transaction
- Check the scope of the intellectual property rights to be sure they do, or will, cover what the company intends to commercialize (and that of the competition, if known)
- Verify the validity of the assets to determine whether they have a reasonable chance of being upheld if attacked
- Check for the existence of any litigation involving the rights
- Identify the existence of any other licenses under the rights or restrictions that might impact on the value of the protection
- Identify any third party rights which may prevent commercialization
He also mentioned that you need to make yourself aware of the new EU data protection rules, especially the consent rules, which will go into effect from May 4, 2018. These rules significantly strengthen the individual’s rights in the EU and affect the way you must get consumer consent.
See good link here in a guide from Computer World on how the new rules will affect every entity that holds or uses European personal data both inside and outside of Europe: GDPR General Data Protection Regulation
Here’s a brief intro to Peter’s talk: