Most people generally think of intellectual property like patents, trademarks, and copyrights. But your IP is more than just a product, brand, book, or software. IP extends into many formats including customer information, software source code, business models, databases, operations manuals, professional expertise, and much more.
These rights are different parts of your IP that create its value. Sometimes these parts can be separated from your core product or service, and licensed into other applications, uses, or markets.
One example is professional expertise in training or consulting that others can use. One of my clients specialized in workplace safety training. I helped them convert parts of the training services into training courses and manuals, which were then licensed to companies wanting to set up their own internal safety training programs. Other examples include brands licensed into non-competitive products, or rights to sell your product in new distribution channels or countries.
So how do you figure out the most valuable parts of your IP? The best way is with an IP audit. It’s basically a list of all the types of IP you own. The IP audit process creates your IP Inventory. It helps you figure out the best parts of your IP to use in licensing. But the IP Audit does more than that. It also helps you find and correct any problems with your IP rights, such as failing to register it, or avoiding risks of your product or service infringing on another IP.
And one final but important point. An IP Inventory will also help you in negotiating a licensing deal and creating a licensing agreement. It helps you avoid giving away your hidden licensing opportunities. It’s a common mistake which often happens because you agree to locking up all rights with one partner, such as product variations, territories, market applications and more.
Remember, your IP is more than just a patent, trademark, or copyright. But, if you don’t know what you have, you’ll wind up missing your hidden licensing opportunities. The more detailed an inventory you create, the better you’ll be able to really figure out all the different parts of your IP, spot new licensing opportunities, and more importantly, make sure you negotiate the best licensing deal terms for your IP.
Not sure what the most valuable parts of your IP are? Click here to get the free special report, IP Inventory: How to Find Your Hidden Licensing Opportunities.