At this time of year, it is important to discuss a topic which is often-overlooked by many SBIR/STTR contractors and grantees: the importance of protecting your Intellectual Property (IP) when preparing your proposal(s).
With the Defense Department’s release of the 2016.2/B SBIR/STTR topics on April 22, and an average $150 billion in R&D awarded annually by the government, SBIR/STTR contracts promise a potentially lucrative path to many small businesses. Accordingly, thousands of small business contractors are intensely studying this latest solicitation and reviewing their proposal strategies. However, one critical step small businesses may not take is securing and maintaining their intellectual property (IP) rights. This oversight can and will be fatal to many small businesses this year alone!
Why do you need an IP strategy? A simple example paints a vivid picture:
Small businesses’ proprietary IP, patents, patents pending or other confidential information must be protected. In government proposals, information highlighted as “proprietary” is not immediately releasable to the public. Should the government accept the proposal, however, it becomes a matter of public record upon publication of the awarded contract. Trade secrets, know-how, cost margins and any other information included in the proposal may now be publicized even if the small business has tried to protect it but failed to take the necessary steps. Government contracts, including SBIR/STTR awards, are riddled with thousands of such examples…and these can be devastating to your small business. After all, IP is at the heart of your small business.
As such, a team of experienced, trustworthy IP experts is essential, and that’s why ReliAscent has partnered with Martensen IP. Martensen’s professional patent, business and IP attorneys are more than well-versed with federal acquisition and contracting rules and regulations. Small businesses can trust Martensen to secure, protect and defend their IP rights and interests---especially with regards to the SBIR/STTR program.
If you do not have a clear, tested (and proven) IP protection strategy (or you just want to make sure you are doing the best job of protecting your IP that you can), then we highly recommend you contact the experts at Martensen---and do so before you submit your next proposal!
After all, you never know just how critical a simple phone call or email could be to the future of your small business…
Follow-up to this IP Blog:
To learn more about the importance of protecting your IP in the SBIR/STTR program, and how Martensen IP can help, check out their new blog, just published today:
I highly recommend you subscribe to their blog, and please do reach out to them should you have any questions or concerns about your IP protection strategy.