What is IP Culture?
A culture of IP is a work environment in which innovation can thrive. In other words, it means upper-level management and employees work in tandem to promote an ecosystem where new ideas, concepts, and processes are welcomed. In this environment, diversity of thought is championed, and work is solution oriented. Lastly, in a culture of IP, employees understand their role in protecting their company’s confidential information and trade secrets.
What can you do to improve IP in your business?
You might be new to learning about IP culture or you might have some understanding of it but are looking for ways to increase IP knowledge. Regardless of where you sit on the spectrum, here are some suggestions to get you started on how to better protect your company’s IP.
- Providing your staff with IP education and training
Consider providing your new employees with IP training during their onboarding process. It sets the tone right away for how your organization considers IP and it will provide your employees with clarity and context for their work. Consider offering a refresher IP training for current employees as well.
- Having the right internal and external IP support
Hiring IP service providers with the right experience and who understand your business is critical. Having your IP-related questions answered promptly and quickly identifying new inventions will minimize disclosures. Keep in mind that your employees will likely have questions about the patentability of their inventions, therefore having an internal employee responsible for IP can be very helpful, as your employees will likely need guidance.
- Focus on your documentation
IP education is for everyone in your business. Having a clear IP policy also provides more clarity for your various teams. For example, when your marketing team understands the IP behind your products, there’s less of a chance that your “secret sauce” will be accidentally disclosed, and the same can be said for your R&D team.
At a higher level, it’s best to ensure that your employees are properly documenting IP. Investors look for IP documentation when weighing funding opportunities. Set yourself up for success early by implementing proper document processes and storage that will increase your business value for sale or merger.
Creating a culture of IP is an ongoing process that usually involves a combination of education, training, policy, and communication. Providing your employees access to education and tools to better protect your IP can help, however, your senior management must be actively involved in making the shift happen. To facilitate the process, consider choosing someone within your company to be responsible for IP and to execute your IP-related vision and goals. Remember: A culture of IP supports your company’s overall strategy and a strong strategy equals success.
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