Startup Intellectual Property for Medical Products
Aloha and welcome back to IMUA On TV. I’m Meghan Alonso and this is a great resource for you if you are a medical device inventor or startup company and you’re going through that product development process. You’re seeking funding, you’re looking at what it takes to get a product manufactured from the prototype that you built in your garage or your lab. If you like what we’re talking about today then you can check out more resources at imua-services.com. That’s I-M-U-A dash services dot com.
So today we’re gonna talk about five common mistakes that medical device entrepreneurs and startup companies make with their intellectual property when they’re developing products.
Check Your Employment Contracts
So the first little tidbit I have for you today is if you’re a full-time employee while you’re developing this new technology even if it’s on your free time, maybe you work for a university, you’ve got to check your employment contracts. So there’s actually clauses in there that your employers will put stating that any intellectual property that you generate even if it’s not at work, they have rights to. So you wanna be clear on that. It’s worth exploring those contracts. You can get a lawyer to check over it. Make sure you’re in the clear before you even start this process. And if you’ve already gone down that path and you’re just figuring this out or just finding it out ’cause that’s very common, obviously we’re talking about that, then that’s okay, just kinda stop what you’re doing. Again, get a lawyer to look it over and check and make sure that you are on good track.
Don’t Seek Protection too Early
Okay, tip number two is seeking protection too early and I know that sounds counterintuitive. When we have a great idea we want to file patents around it. We want to be the first to file. That’s what US PTO tells us to do. They have the whole First to File rule. So the reason I state this is because yeah you have that idea but you need to see number one is it feasible, and then number two you need to start developing concepts around that feasible idea. So maybe you develop five different concepts and then you’re testing those, you’re iterating on that and you have proof of concept. That’s where you need to get started in securing that IP. If you started out when you just have the idea that one idea might turn into something completely different later and those patents you spent money on at the beginning, you have to buy other different patents at this other juncture. And those patents that you spent money on in the beginning, you need to spend money for other patents once you get to proof of concept stage. So just keep that in mind.
Don’t Dilute Your IP with Lots of Owners
Number three is diluting your intellectual property. So we’ve probably seen this happen. People are raising money for their products and they get money from some family and friends over here, they get some money from angel investors over here, a little mix of VC in the pot and before you know it all of that intellectual property that was wholly 100% yours is now divided up into maybe 10 different owners and you’re left with just a little sliver of that delicious pie. So we don’t want that to happen to you. When you’re going through all of these contracts, again I’m gonna mention to have a professional, have a lawyer look over all these different contracts that you are getting and then definitely help you writing any contracts that you are disseminating. So look into there.
Utilize Track One Examinations
So, the fourth one, now you may know about this, you may not know about it. So there’s something called track one exams with the US PTO so you can file patents as an entrepreneur, as an inventor, as a startup company for very low cost. We’re talking a thousand to $2,000 here. So Google that, find out more about it, and there’s no reason why you shouldn’t pursue that.
Hire a Professional
So the last and final piece of advice I have for you today is always consult a professional. I’ve seen people try to do it themselves, heck I’m even guilty of that. I did a copyright on my own and then I got a call from someone at the US PTO and they said, “Hey, this isn’t done right, you owe us more money.” Which, hey that was actually good news. I was really nervous and thinking, “Oh great, do I not get to have this copyrighted at all.” So, I got lucky in that case. Save yourself the time, save yourself the stress. Just have it done professionally, have it done right. You can’t go wrong that way.
Okay, hope you enjoyed these five tips. Again, there’s more on the website at imua-services.com. And if you are an inventor, if you are an entrepreneur going through this process I’m launching a beta program this fall, it’s gonna be fall of 2016 if you’re watching this later. So this program is meant for companies going through the product development process, they’re seeking funding, they’re working on their pitch. So I’m gonna get you there. If you want to apply to be in this program, there’s 10 spots at no charge. So you’ll just help me develop the program. You get to be an integral part in setting other people up for success in the future. So if you’re interested in that you wanna text the word invention to 44222 or you can head on over to imua-services.com/iipp, that’s double I, double P like invention idea to profitable product. Again, if you’re watching this after fall of 2016 hey, that just means we’ve worked on this program, we’ve perfected it, and it’s out there for you so you can still check out the text and the link, that will still be good. So see you on the next episode and have a great day, imua.