The way companies’ products look and feel can be as valuable as the product itself with the right protections
Las empresas en proceso de expansión internacional necesitan comprender el valor de sus productos y servicios intangibles, opina João Paulo Miranda de Sousa de Garrigues Portugal.
As businesses look to expand internationally they need to understand the full value of the intangible products and services they own, says João Paulo Miranda de Sousa, Head of IP at Garrigues.
“When looking to new markets, companies will focus on sales, manufacturing or distribution channels, and marketing and pricing strategies without always considering the full value of what they offer or the protections they need to ensure are in place.”
There is no guarantee that the intellectual property (IP) protections a company has at home for their brands, designs or packaging, will apply in a new market. Likewise businesses have to ensure they will not conflict with the rights of others.
“Having the right IP strategy can inform or even determine a business´s international strategy. Clients are often surprised that having left the IP issue to the latter stages of planning they cannot do what it was they initially set out to do.”
In times of crisis, businesses are asking “what more can I do with what I have?” says Miranda de Sousa. If the domestic market is no longer enough companies need to find new ways and new markets in which to operate.
“In order to help clients understand the full value or opportunities available lawyers need to offer more than reactive advice. We have to engage in a process of ‘legal engineering’ to give something that may be vague or intangible a structure that can then be protected and commercialised,” he insists. The goal is to present the client with the legal freedom to operate as they want. “We need to understand how our clients’ businesses work, their strategic goals and the products they are developing. They do not want us to give them problems they want us to avoid them altogether.”
The question clients must therefore ask is: “What is the value of what I am doing and can you help me to create a commercial strategy to extract the maximum value?” says Miranda.