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Open Innovation Insights: 5 Biggest IP Legal Mistakes Small Companies Make When Working with Large Companies

Open Innovation guru Stefan Lindegaard recently asked me what the biggest IP legal mistakes small companies make when they are working with large companies.   This is a subject very near and dear to my heart, as I am currently "moonlighting" as GC of a start up energy company that is moving toward licensing our technology into large companies.  Also, as a senior IP lawyer at a multi-national consumer products company, I was on the other side of such deals on more occasions than I can count.  Prior to that, I was a law firm partner representing large and small corporations in patents and licensing issues, and in doing so, I now realize that I killed more deals than I ever facilitated, a situation that is more typical of law firm lawyers than it should be, unfortunately. In view of this multi-faceted experience, I present this list of the 5

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How to Prevent IP Ownership Issues When A Corporate Strategic Alliance, Joint Venture or Open Innovation Project Fails

Technology-focused collaborations form a foundation of today's corporate planning strategies. Such collaborations can be in the form of strategic alliances, joint ventures, open innovation or other legal structures. Regardless of how the participants characterize and legally structure such collaborations, the most common motivation for forming such alliances is to pool technology and R & D resources. When technology and R & D is involved, it must follow that IP ownership issues should loom large in the planning stage of the collaboration. However, my experience shows that the parties rarely give appropriate consideration to IP ownership in the agreements that are supposed to fully set out the rights and responsibilities of the parties. I can say with authority that IP issues are not usually given proper consideration in collaborative agreements because my expertise in this area results primarily from helping clients after their collaborations

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Innovators: Make Sure Your Company Owns the Fruits of Your Open Innovation Projects

In case there was any doubt, this New York Times article of July 22, 2008 shows that Open Innovation is "hot". And it is not just consumer products companies that have jumped on the bandwagon: companies such as HP, IBM and Microsoft have reportedly embraced the Open Innovation model. But, did you also know that, if your company is not careful, you could end up sharing patent rights to any inventions resulting from your Open Innovation collaborations? If you are going to play in the Open Innovation game, you must also understand how to prevent collaborators outside your company from owning the fruits of your company's innovations. This is a very easy issue to address on the front end of the Open Innnovation process and should be standard procedure for any innovation professional. However, as detailed by Greg Daines in his Ideanomics blog, intellectual property strategy is not