Why I Hate IP Strategy Lawyers ? Because IP is not THE Strategy for Startups

Frankly, I don’t hate IP strategy consultants, but I hate the fact that they tend to promote IP strategy as “THE” strategy. To give you some context, I just had a meeting with an IP lawyer. While I agree on importance of IP, overrating the importance doesn’t help.

The lawyer, like most of the other IP strategy consultant was over selling IP and almost said that even if you do not build a product (and for that matter, business) you can still have a good exit (because you have patent/IP over a technology).

If you are a startup having a strong IP (unique/differentiated), you have a chance of being acquired or some big player licensing your IP, but at the end of the day, building a business is more important than plainly believing in your IP [hope is not a strategy]. Building a business gives you a lot better bargaining position than anything in the world.

But, meet an IP lawyer and they will steer the discussion in a certain direction that will make you believe that your IP is the only thing that should matter to you. Building a product, launching, defining product positioning etc doesn’t mean anything and sometimes it makes me feel like a dumn f**k when I see some of these IP lawyers being promoted as mentors (strategy gurus) by a few incubation centers.

ip lawyer jokes
IP As a Strategy? Can Hurt you *back*

@Startups – IP is important, its a measurable value of your intellect (as a company) – but IP IS still not a product. IP licensing is still a naive market in India (and you can always hope for someone to license your IP), and if you really want to build a business, do the dirty work of product development, launch, monetization.Apart from the fact that it will satisfy your soul as an entrepreneur, your business (and not how many patents you have) will first get noticed by a prospective buyer.

IP is a tool that gives you immense leverage over your competition. But if you aren’t getting hands dirty (in building business), you are probably leaving a lot of money on the table. Frankly, if you want to increase the value of your IP,  demonstrate it by building a business around it [and stop waiting to sue those who are building a competitive business].

Stop listening to IP lawyers who go beyond their consulting domain and oversell IP. Not that you do not need IP protection, but don’t take that as a life jacket.

@IP Lawyers – I still love you guys, but request you to stick to your domain. Focus helps, but too much of it can spoil the image !

Please remember IP Strategy is not THE strategy. Most of the successful technology businesses in India never cared so much about the number of patents they have. What really matters at the end of the day is how many happy customers do you have and frankly, they don’t care about your intellect level.

At the same time, I am not demeaning the important of technology/IP – all I am saying is that Technology is not the Business.

Business involves a lot more dirty and boring things than intellectual discussions.

What’s your opinion? Unless you are in the business of IP, do you think that IP is more important than building a full fledged (read: boring) business?

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