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raise the price for a product/service without losing customers)

caused by the economic monopoly deriving from excluding the

competitors from exploiting the company’s IP in a certain

geographical area; and (ii) transferring or licensing the IPR against

a lump sum of money or a royalty agreement. The latter benefits

refer to a more defensive strategy based on cross-licensing the

IPR against a free/reduced licence for another IPR.

Next, a partner who has the expertise required, for example, to

develop a demo/prototype shall be contacted. Prior to a

meeting, the team must reflect on how to maintain

confidentiality, not only with respect to the IP involved but also

with respect to the business itself, in case the partner will hop on

or off the project. At this point, most entrepreneurs do request

the partner to sign a non-disclosure agreement (NDA) as a

safeguard against an abuse of the information that will be

disclosed in the meeting. Nonetheless, both parties rarely know

the utility and the implications in terms of enforcement of an

NDA, which may in fact often remain an abstract document and

consequently an empty threat.

Conversely, an NDA specifying the content that will be presented

during the meeting (e.g. a PowerPoint presentation, a video, etc.),

in combination with the filing of a patent application and/or a

design registration, provides the most effective form of protection

against malicious counterparts, not only with respect to the

product/service involved but also with respect to the overall

business strategy.

Additionally and noteworthy, in case of a patent pending in a

certain country/region, the formulation PAT PEND can be used to

preventively avoid competitors that enter the market in that

geographical area. Moreover, an intentional patent pending

strategy, i.e. an IP strategy with no final intention to get a patent

granted, may be advantageous for companies developing

products/services having a short lifetime so as to gain the market

while keeping the IP expenses at a minimum.

At various stages of the business process, the team would need to

interact with investors to finance, for example, the development

and testing of the demo/prototype, the launch of the

product/service on the market, etc. In this respect, IPRs are again

an asset since very few investors would risk investing large sums

in a business which is not associated to any IPRs but, e.g., only to

trade secrets. Especially for start-ups with unproven track records,

an IP portfolio signals professionalism and quality, which would

result in the team being taken more seriously by investors.

In case the company does not have the wish or the ability to

proceed further, several exit strategies are conceivable at

predetermined milestones such as when the development work is

completed or when the product/service is ready for commercial

distribution. At these stages, contacts to buyers or licensees must

be undertaken. In particular, in the case of buyers, an IP due

diligence will be performed to derive a value for the intangible

assets of the company. Note that for start-ups and spin-offs, IPRs

are in fact the main asset.

Although we have referred to a start-up, similar aspects are to be

considered for spin-offs, SMEs, etc. In any case, bear in mind that

IPRs are not only a means of protection but also valuable assets

during any stage of a business.


PATRADE is an IP firm consisting of a patent department and a

trademark and design department, including authorised European

patent, design and trademark attorneys. Moreover, PATRADE is a

member of a worldwide network of agents and is a member of the

PATRADE GROUP, which also comprises the law firm PATRADE

LEGAL. Hence, PATRADE has broad in-house expertise in all

aspects of IP, including but not limited to the following: IP

consultancy with a business focus; IP planning and budgeting;

execution of IP searches; drafting, filing and prosecution of IP; IP

monitoring; freedom-to-operate analysis; IP infringement

evaluations; IP management; IP licensing and transferring; and IP

defence and litigation. Also, our attorneys assist our clients in

finding public and private funding opportunities. Our technical

competencies span from mechanics to chemistry, from software

to electronics and telecommunications. Thus, we can definitely

help you in building up and managing a valuable IP portfolio.

PATRADE is an expert member in ‘Vision2020: The Horizon

Network’. In particular, we can assist you in IP issues related to

your Horizon 2020 proposals and projects such as drafting or

legal counselling on grant agreements, consortium agreements,

partnership agreements, researcher agreements, joint ownership

agreements, and confidentiality agreements.


tel: +45 7020 3770

Simone Frattasi PhD EE, MSc EE

Patent Attorney

Leif L Nielsen

CEO, Partner

EuropeanPatent Attorney

H O R I Z O N 2 0 2 0 P R O J E C T S : P O R TA L