Harvesting your IP
Developing the intellectual property management system for a health sector consultancy and international training institute offering a safe and effective headache and migraine solution.
In this case study our client called asking a delightful question: "I'd like to make an appointment to discuss our business model."
The regular image of law is of locks, keys, protection and guys in wigs. Drowned out is the ability of some lawyers to deliver business model innovation or business re-invention.
Australians are health sector innovators. In this case study our client business was built around what it had and what it needed. What it had was a unique health remedy discovery, decades of experience and professional education training system teaching the methodology for using the discovery. What it needed was a training system supported by international intellectual property protection ("IP"), contracts and written notices that nipped legal issues in the bud.
Nobody had yet identified and categorised our clients health sector IP to build comprehensive protection around it. Our team dived in to first understand what made this IP noteworthy, special, unique, and valuable now or potentially.
The client had cashflow from Australia and abroad from its training workshops. Here's why its IP was leaking or under-leveraged:
student graduates through ignorance or stealth made unauthorised re-use of proprietary training content;
proprietary brands were diluted by misdescriptions on websites and in social media; and
the potential to build an international peer community of interest was hampered by fear of IP theft.
After three meetings with us, and email communications in between, we knew enough to express our long held hunch to our client.
We advised that the tens of thousands of dollars spent on the franchising road it had been put on by another solicitor was a dead end. Franchising was an unsuitable business model for the client's health sector training system and approach to business. It was best to throw away the draft franching documents prepared by that solicitor and to now have a conversation around sketched ideas on our whiteboard.
Delivering this shocking news and then picking the client from off the floor, over the next 12 months we progressively developed and implemented a modular system of documents and procedures, informed by law and other disciplines, and defendable in law. Law on its own is not enough. In this case and others we often apply learning from psychology, economics, ethics and business management.
On project completion our client described its year-long experience with us in this way: "more than beneficial and cost effective... providing valuable knowledge along with a skill set that is both reassuring and empowering for achievement of business outcomes."
That description applied to four areas of work in this case study:
defining the client's trade mark assets and copyright in training materials and considerable confidential information;
drafting a set of documents and agreements to set the ground rules for professional student participation including: (a) course registration terms, (b) conditions of use, (c) permissions agreement, (d) intellectual property notice, and (e) course participant releases;
drafting an affiliate relationships agreement setting out the full business deal for affiliates; and
drafting an IP user manual.
With its new business model foundation secured by law and management know-how, our client executed with confidence. It was able to harvest its intelletual property by growing its community knowing that everyone knew what was permitted and why; and that if infringement arose it could be expeditiously resolved.