The Management of IP in a Micro-company

An article in the Times recently focussed on the importance, even need, for micro-companies, as well as small and medium sized companies to be aware of the importance of intellectual property to their business. In a way the message is not new, IP awareness, like attention to our health is a perennial topic, requiring more attention than we are inclined to give it, and the very recurrence of the admonishments showing that the message, even if heard, is not always acted on. One eye catching aspect to the article was the inclusion of micro companies, not simply SMEs, amongst those who should address the issue of IP. Micro companies, typically with one or two people, have not traditionally been seen as having significant amounts of IP, and at the individual scale this remains true, but collectively certainly 20% perhaps as many as 30% of such companies are “innovative” in the broadest sense. That is a lot of innovation which can easily be wasted without good management of the IP being generated.

Management of IP in a micro-company requires a very different approach from that used by SMEs, let alone traditional large companies who can use resources and funds to acquire portfolios of registered IP, like patents and trademarks. Hard for an SME, impossible to imagine for a micro-company, for whom a single registered right would stretch resources. So, each micro-company needs an approach to IP to fit their circumstances and which can evolve with the company. Which is a challenge to do, an even larger challenge to do cost-effectively. The second eye catching thing? The article was in the Times of India