027 – Five Intellectual Property Tips for Inventors and Startups

Intellectual property can often be challenging and expensive for startups and inventors.  I share 5 tips that will help shape development and strategy to secure funding and lead to a successful launch.  Got an idea for a medical product?  I’ve got a program that will be in beta soon and you have the opportunity to BE IN THE PROGRAM FOR FREE as a tester.  You’ll learn about the development process, what investors look for, and how to nail your pitch.  To stay updated, visit imua-services.com/iipp or text the word “invention” to 44222.

  • Why IP doesn’t only mean patents [3:48]
  • Why non-disclosure agreements are important [5:34]
  • Why it’s important to have an IP lawyer [7:30]
  • Work on communicating the value of your IP [8:15]
  • What is your IP strategy? [9:30]


Next Steps:
Text INVENTION to 44222

Resources:
Invention Idea to Profitable Product
Episode 7
Carly Fiorina Buys SethMeyers.org

Host: Meghan Alonso
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Host Company: Imua Services
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All Podcasts:
iTunes: bitly.com/Inspire

Podcast Transcription:

Recorder: Are you ready to master the waves of medical device product development? Well wax up your surfboard because you are listening to inspired by Imua. Here is your medical device product development expert that Hawaiian hearted hostess who will help you hang ten. Meghan Alonso.

Meghan: E komo mai and aloha! You’re listening to inspired by Imua, where we help you master the waves of medical product development. Each week we interview guest that educate, guide and inspire to give you and your product the skills you need to hang ten. If this is your first time listening, Imua is spelled I-M-U-A. It’s a Hawaiian word, it means to advance forward with passion despite rough waves. There are plenty of those in medical product development but keep listening because we’ve got you covered. Hey, I just want to let you know if you haven’t heard already that this fall I’ll be launching a beta program called Invention Idea to Profitable Product. So what that is for you that have this idea but maybe you have been working on it for a few years now, maybe you’re thinking about it for a few months and you’re just ready of the ground and get going but you’re just kind of not sure how to get started and maybe you hit some road box, intellectual property or how to get in front of investors or what needs to go into my marketing plan. All these questions playing around your head, this is exactly what this program answers. Like I said, it’s a beta program I have ten spots open at no charge. This is a totally free program for you as long as you are willing to put in the time to go through it and give me feedback on how you did and what can make it better. So that way, when we do the real launch this early March-ish of 2017 is more refined. So there’s a few ways you can get involved with this, you can either text the word INVENTION to 44222. So take out your phone and type in the number 44222 and where you text someone you type the word INVENTION. You can get sign up that way for updates on this. The other way is you can just head over to imua-services.com/iipp/ that’s double ‘I’ double ‘P’ for Invention Idea for Profitable Product. So head on over there, I’d love to have you on the program and we’ll get started.

So I have five intellectual property tips for inventors and startups today. I’ve been hearing quite a few questions about this. There’s been some buzz episode number 7 that I did with Brian Buss on strategies for you IP that’s one of my most popular episodes. If you haven’t listened to that, you can listen to that. You can find that again on imua-services.com and just look up for episode 7. So let’s get started!

The first tip I have for you, has a funny story too, is to show a wrap any intellectual property that you may have. This is not just panics, we are talking about copyrights or trademarks you may have or website domains too. So the funny story is, you may have seen this on the news some time last year when the early season of election were going on. So Carly Florina was on the late night show with Seth Meyers. She found out that he was kinda poke fun her because her team failed to secure carlyflorina.org they just did it for .com. Well what happened is someone else bought carlyflorina.org and put this small sad faces all over the saying “Hey, this is how many people Carly laid off at each P.” And so she found this out and she Google search sethmeyers.org whether there is any sethmeyer.org so she purchased it. Right then and there on set or not on set on the green room right before she went on set. And when he asked her about it and he said, “Hey, you have this tech background you work on each P why didn’t you do this?”. And she said, “Hey, you don’t know who has sethmeyers.org, do you? Well I do.” So I will link to this YouTube video, it’s pretty funny. What I am getting at is that was a funny example of it. Sometimes it’s not; sometimes you don’t know who is purchasing those other domains and what they’re gonna do with that. Anything related to your name or your product, you want to secure that.

The second tip I have for you is about Nondisclosure Agreement. I talk with people sometimes and if you’re unfamiliar with this process, unfamiliar with having any intellectual property, a lot of times people are scared of it, scared of what’s going to happen and don’t want to talk with people about it or very secretive, that’s okay. I get it coz you’re are scared of something happening. This is really important to you and it is also important that you protect that. Your idea isn’t going anywhere unless you talk with people about it. You solely alone cannot take you idea and get it on the market. Other people are into your own helping you in that process. A nondisclosure agreement is just a document that you can have Jana by your lawyer or there are templates out there but I would definitely advice having a lawyer. Review the template to make sure it has anything it needs to have specific to your industry and to your state so you wanna have that. And then you want anyone you talk to about. This can be someone that’s helping you with your pitch, someone that’s giving you consulting on just how to move your product to market, the investors, the product development partners, your manufacturers you want everybody to sign this but this brings me to another point. If you’re dealing internationally, you need to check on those laws because as you probably know if you bring something abroad there’s a high chance of it being knocked off. So you want to make sure that you have whatever you need to have in that specific country.

Tip number three, when you’re dealing with investors, any type of investments whether it’s angel or VC just the private investor you need to have an attorney specializing in intellectual property that will cover the contract to make sure that your interests are protected. Yes, there’s general council, there’s contract lawyers that do this. They can review it if it’s not on your side, maybe it’s a contract from the other party, but you also wanna have an IP lawyer just look it over, make sure from that standpoint you are protected.

Alright, tip cuatro. So work on communicating the value of your IP. Hey, it’s your IP and it’s not worth much if you can’t show others that it’s valuable. And I mean this when you are pitching to investors, when you’re trying to get acquired, if you don’t have a compelling story about why the world needs this, what it’s gonna do to disrupt the industry, why this is so much better than the competitors, why this is gonna make you a venture firm tons of money. Why you should acquire this intellectual property to round up your existing IP portfolio? Hey this is gonna increase your brand size. Hey if you don’t purchase this IP, I might become that next big player in the industry. So you really wanna position it and this one I am not really talking about IP here but it is related you just want to develop this salesmanship skills and communication skills.

On to our last tip, I mentioned earlier about episode 7 with Brian Buss so Brian’s company Nevium manages intellectual property. It helps you develop intellectual property strategy of IP that you do have. So you want someone like that to be able to look at what you have and help you strategize a way to leverage all that. What are you going to do with that? What are the options you have? Are you gonna commercialize yourself? Are you going to get acquired? Maybe you want to be defensive, you want to be offensive? What are those situations for you that’s specific for your IP. How are you gonna handle that? So when you’re in product development and you’re developing all these it’s a really busy time. So it’s worth to have just someone that you can occasionally meet with that you can really take care of this and knows what you are doing.

So those are my tips, I would love to hear any feedback. You can connect on me at twitter, my handle is @meghanmalonso and have a great day, until the next episode, Imua!

Recorder: Mahalo for joining us. If you’re new to riding the waves of medical device product development, or if you’ve been in development for a while already, Inspired by Imua is here to surf with you. Want to be a master of the waves? Text hang ten that’s all one word H-A-N-G-T-E-N to 44222. We’ll send you the most common wipe outs companies make in product development so you can avoid them and reach master wave status. Again, that’s hang ten to 44222. We publish a new episode every Tuesday, so catch us at Inspiredbyimua.com. Imua!

About the Author

Meghan M. Alonso
Meghan M. Alonso, referred to by Shark Tank’s Kevin Harrington as a medical device development expert, is known for her award winning medical device podcast, Inspired by Imua, the chapter she wrote in best selling book “Put a Shark in Your Tank, and her valuable connections in the medical industry. According to the Huffington Post, she helps clients navigate the complicated process of bringing their ideas to the marketplace. She’s a patriotic military wife, pet parent, founder and co-founder of 4 successful companies who thrives on guiding medical device and IVD companies through development and manufacturing. When she isn’t helping others, Meghan is hard at work on her MBA she is pursuing from Auburn University, staying active with her adorable husky Abby, crossfitting, enjoying great restaurants and fine wine with her husband, and soaking up the sun the nearest beach.

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