All emerging companies can and should take basic steps to protect their uniquely valuable intellectual property.
For many companies, especially startups, intellectual property often represents an important component of a company’s value, perhaps the single most significant component. Investors and acquirers are often interested in such companies primarily for the potential embodied in their IP. Defects and deficiencies in a company’s IP portfolio can raise significant concerns for investors and acquirors, and in extreme cases may drive them away entirely. Yet, despite the apparent centrality of IP to a company’s value and potential, many companies fail to take basic steps to preserve such important assets. This article will describe a few basic steps in five key areas that any company can take to protect, preserve and enhance its IP.