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The IP Centric Startup and What They Should Do Differently Than a Regular Startup.

Updated: Mar 14

From my prior experience, working at European IP consultancies Zacco (recently acquired by OpSec) and Novagraaf Group (recently acquired by Questel) I learned about the critical importance of protecting your intellectual property. In my mentoring practice I engage with founders across different industries, geographies and maturity stages. Some have IP, like patents in novel foods or medical devices. Most of 'my' startups haven't got much IP, but may be they should and build an IP Centric Startup.




An IP-centric startup, or Intellectual Property-centric startup, is a company whose primary focus and value proposition revolve around the creation, management, and commercialization of intellectual property (IP). Intellectual property refers to intangible assets such as patents, trademarks, copyrights, and trade secrets that provide legal protections for innovative ideas, inventions, creative works, and proprietary information.


Here are some characteristics and considerations for an IP-centric startup:


  1. Focus on Innovation: An IP-centric startup places a strong emphasis on innovation and the development of novel technologies, products, or services that can be protected through intellectual property rights. The company invests in research and development to create valuable IP assets that differentiate it from competitors and provide a competitive advantage in the market.

  2. Strategic IP Management: The startup adopts a proactive approach to IP management, including the identification, acquisition, protection, and monetization of intellectual property assets. This involves conducting IP audits, filing patent applications, registering trademarks, securing copyrights, and implementing trade secret protection measures to safeguard valuable intangible assets.

  3. Monetization Strategies: An IP-centric startup explores various monetization strategies to leverage its intellectual property assets for revenue generation and business growth. This may include licensing IP rights to third parties, selling patents or trademarks, entering into strategic partnerships, or commercializing proprietary technologies through product development and sales.

  4. Market Differentiation: Intellectual property serves as a key differentiator for an IP-centric startup, enabling it to establish a unique market position and capture market share. The company uses its IP assets to create barriers to entry, deter competitors, and position itself as a leader or innovator in its industry or niche market segment.

  5. Legal and Regulatory Compliance: An IP-centric startup must comply with legal and regulatory requirements related to intellectual property rights, including patent laws, trademark regulations, copyright statutes, and trade secret protection laws. The company seeks guidance from IP attorneys or specialists to navigate the complexities of IP law and ensure compliance with applicable regulations.

  6. Investor Appeal: Intellectual property can enhance the attractiveness of an IP-centric startup to investors, venture capitalists, and potential acquirers. Investors are often interested in companies with strong IP portfolios and proprietary technologies that offer significant market potential and competitive advantages. IP assets serve as valuable collateral and intellectual capital that can increase the valuation of the startup and attract funding.

  7. Long-Term Value Creation: An IP-centric startup focuses on creating long-term value through the strategic development and monetization of intellectual property assets. The company recognizes the importance of building a sustainable business model that leverages its IP strengths to drive innovation, growth, and profitability over time.

In comparison to a startup without much IP, an IP-centric startup typically places a greater emphasis on IP creation, protection, and commercialization as integral components of its business strategy. It invests resources in building a strong IP portfolio, adopts proactive IP management practices, and explores innovative ways to monetize its intangible assets for competitive advantage and long-term success in the market.


Founders considering to become an IP Centric Startup should consider consulting with a patent attorney or IP consultant or work with a Startup Mentor that has a background in Technology Transfer.





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