After reintroducing their reimagined incubation program called Benilde Trailblazer Startup (BTS) in May, the De La Salle-College of Saint Benilde Hub for Innovation for Inclusion (Benilde HIFI) strengthened their goals with their first Intellectual Property Bootcamp session called, “Smart IP Strategies For Startups,” which is a three-day webinar held on Oct. 20, 21, and 28, via Zoom and Facebook.
The BTS IP Bootcamp is a three-session boot camp that guides aspiring startup founders in their BTS journey by equipping them with smart intellectual property strategies. The boot camp was conducted by the College’s Director for the Center for Intellectual Property Management (CIPM) and Innovation and Technology Support Office (ITSO) Manager, Atty. Janice Tejano. It was hosted by architect Alex Abear and joined by Ms. Mylene Gutierrez, an IP coordinator, and ITSO officer.
BTS IP Bootcamp’s first session tackled the definition, importance, and basics of IP. Atty. Tejano began her talk by clarifying that the IP is not the creation or output but the owners' rights over what they created.
“The IP code basically gives or defines the rights and responsibilities of an owner of intellectual property. It tells us how we can protect our IP, how we can transfer our IP, and who can use our IP,” she mentioned. And after going over the intellectual property code of the country, she summarized the benefits and importance of IP into three: valuable intangible assets, grant of exclusive rights, and legal protection that fuels innovation.
To give basic knowledge on different categories of intellectual property common in the country, Atty. Tejano explained the primary concepts of copyright, trademarks, patents, utility model (UM), industrial design (ID), geographic indication (GI), and trade secrets. For each category, she explained the system and duration of protection of the specific IP.
The latter part of the first session focused on three smart IP strategies to consider for artists, writers, innovators, and startup founders who wish to protect their work. The strategies shared by Atty. Tejano were: identifying the IP in one’s work and establishing ownership, protecting only the IP that one needed and choosing the right IP protection, protecting copyrights by using the copyright symbol, and investing in protecting one’s own brand by applying for trademarks.
The dos and don’ts of IP
The second day of the boot camp addressed the common IP mistakes and gave three more IP strategies. Atty. Tejano opened the talk by reiterating the boot camp's objectives and briefly recapping what was discussed during the first boot camp.
She discussed the common IP mistakes of SMEs, entrepreneurs, and startups according to the World Intellectual Property Organization’s (WIPO) findings to educate the participants on the don'ts of IP. She pointed out that public disclosure of ideas was the first common mistake, as this can jeopardize patent applications due to increased novelty risks.
Another timely and common mistake she shared was the lack of clear IP provisions in contracts. “You should make your contracts strong and include the appropriate provisions on ownership,” Atty. Tejano expressed. She also emphasized the importance of NDA before communicating with potential employees and investors, stressing that, “It’s (NDA) a legal document. You can use it to enforce your rights to a person who violates the disclosure requirements.”
The third common IP mistake was not identifying the existing IP. In this part, she reminded participants to know how to extinguish the existing IPs to identify the ownership of the IP. Lastly, she tackled poor IP documentation as a common mistake, explaining how a lack of documentation and recording of team ideation sessions can decrease accountability and awareness of idea ownership.
In continuation of the smart IP strategies she tackled during the first session, she added another strategy: allocating a budget for IP protection and obtaining IP advice from experts where she shared the initial fees for copyright, trademark, patent, UM, and ID. According to Atty. Tejano, taking the time to outline the existing and projected IPs alongside developing a plan of action is another strategy before selling the creation in markets. For those building on existing IPs, she discussed that checking and confirming one’s rights to use the IP beforehand is another strategy to ensure authorization.
After a 20-minute break, Atty. Tejano gave a brief introduction on IP Valuation and highlighted that valuation is the key to determining the value of an IP because, according to her, “It’s important that you can speak about the value of your IP.”
Starting your IP journey
Similar to day two, the final session of the boot camp started with a recap of the first two sessions. Day three revolved around IP Valuation, IP Toolbox, and a Q&A segment to wrap up the three-day session boot camp.
Atty. Tejano opened the first half of the talk by defining IP as an asset subject to the rules of ownership, a right defined and protected by the law, and a tool for competitive advantage. To further emphasize the importance of IP, she provided circumstances where the crucial role of IP comes into play like strategic planning, financial reporting, sales transaction support licensing, infringement damages, and transfer pricing.
For identifying the value of intangibles, Atty. Tejano presented three methods that can be used: Porter's Five Forces, conceptual framework, and regulatory framework. “The important thing is that you will be able to come up with an accurate valuation of the intangible,” she expressed.
After refreshing the participants with the six smart IP strategies from the previous talks, she added the last strategy: doing research. This includes conducting an intellectual property search and utilizing available tools and resources.
“We should not ignore what we see, instead, we research even further because if we limit ourselves to Google search or Google patents, these will not really give us the complete information,” Atty. Tejano stressed.
Before the final segment, she discussed the IP Toolbox, which revolved around the contracts and agreements that aspiring startup founders and MSMEs must possess even during the early planning stage. She also shared important provisions and templates for the contracts.
Atty. Tejano concluded the three-day boot camp with a statement, “You can sell all the goods but the IP, you should really protect that because that can be something that you can build on, create another product and iterate.”
Those who missed the sessions may rewatch the IP Bootcamp on Benide HIFI’s Facebook page.
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For Benildeans who are aspiring to start their trailblazing journey, they may still submit their project, capstone, and thesis through BTS’ Benilde Big Box. BTS is open to all Benildean students, faculty, associates, and alumni.