Intellectual Property Rights

We develop license programs that create optimal conditions for adopting standards and technology. The right IPR policy and license program is key to the success of startup businesses and standards development organizations.

Some of the most effective license programs condition patent and trademark licenses on compliance with technical specifications. Such a “techno-legal framework” creates conditions that cause suppliers, customers, distribution channels, and even competitors to automatically operate in ways that are beneficial for the owner of the IPR. With minimal litigation and preferable without any litigation.

License terms and conditions are a balancing act. The owner of the IPR must navigate such that risks are understood and minimized or avoided:

  • Lower royalty rates decrease the long term potential value but speed up adoption and increase short term value.
  • Higher royalty rates increase the incentive for competitors to innovate around the patents, or to take their chances and wait to see if the patent owner is prepared to sue.
  • Granting exclusive rights can create an incentive for licensees to invest in promoting the licensed technology. That will increase short term value. Exclusivity will also create an incentive for competitors to develop alternatives. That will reduce the long term value.

Some technologies have the possibility to “lock in”. They become the dominant design, attracting investments that improve the technology so rapidly that alternative technologies can’t catch up and remain unattractive. Or they lock in because the technology is used in a product that is subject to strong “network effects”. When the network effect is strong, the value of the technology increases with the number of users and that makes it harder for new technologies to replace an established technology. License terms can be optimized to increase the probability that the technology locks in.

Our publications on intellectual property licensing

Why Startups Fail

Why Startups Fail

Review of the book “Why Startups Fail” by Thomas Eisenmann. Data from Eisenmann’s survey suggests that lack of proprietary intellectual property plays a role in the failure of startups. Survival is harder when IPR doesn’t protect the first-to-market advantage.

Can patent owners block the use of a standard?

Can patent owners block the use of a standard?

Developers of standards don’t like it when a patent owner blocks the use of their standard. The considerable effort that goes into developing a standard, typically hundreds of man-years, is wasted when that standard is not used.

Let's discuss how to navigate the sea of opportunities by optimizing your license program...