Tuesday, 14 February 2017

IP planning: a playbook for entrepreneurs

The Entrepreneur's IP Planning Playbook, subtitled "A Strategy Guide To Help Solopreneurs, Startup Founders, And Entrepreneurs Harness Their Intellectual Capital", is a short (81 page) and highly focused little book, the purpose of which is clearly flagged in its title. The author is Robert Klinck, manager of a Washington DC-based legal boutique practice that addresses the IP concerns of entrepreneurial business that relate to planning, management and innovation. Klinck is also author of the 2015 Patent Litigation Primer: A Guide For Inventors And Business Owners, details of which can be accessed here.

This is not a book for those who are possessed of a cavalier degree of optimism: its tone is principally one of caution, prudence and risk minimisation. It reminds the reader not only of the need for due diligence and clearance procedures, but of the reality that, however well a search is conducted, the fact that no earlier conflicting rights are found does not mean that no such right exists.  The risk faced by encountering hostile IP rights can, by good searching, be reduced -- but not necessarily eliminated.

Another encouraging aspect of this book is its emphasis on the need for the entrepreneurial reader to function within the context of a team, rather than try to do everything by himself. Plans, teams and the relationship between them are at the core of this text.

Despite its brevity, this book does not fall into the temptation to start with a subject called intellectual property and then snub all IP rights other than patents.  

The intended reader of this book is the United States-based entrepreneur. This means that specific consideration is not given to international or foreign matters.  In a short guide of this nature, it may be thought that issues such as international filing or licensing strategy are a bridge too far, or simply a subject that is raised with the entrepreneur at his first meeting with a professional adviser. But while in many instances this does not matter, the reader should at least be warned that the United States' position on the one-year grace period within which disclosure of an invention is not fatal to its patentability is not a general rule. Australia, Canada and Japan are grace period countries, for example, but it is not found in European patent law. 

All in all, this is an easy book to read and an easy one to digest. In the hands of the target reader, it can provide very useful information and food for thought ahead of those crucial first meetings with those who will furnish legal, financial and strategic assistance.

You can buy this book on Amazon, in paperback or Kindle formats, here.

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