In technology-based startup companies, the strength and integrity of a company’s IP portfolio is a key indicator of its enterprise value. Wise investors closely scrutinize the IP of their targets by doing basic IP diligence. But doing only basic diligence can leave investors blind to substantial risks.
Although any IP diligence should include “basic IP diligence” – analysis of a target’s freedom-to-operate, IP ownership and patentability – to enable informed decision-making, startups present unique and sometimes hidden risks, which can lurk undetected until a startup matures and gains attention from other market participants. Typically, a startup first realizes these issues when the risks mature in later stages, i.e., when a liquidity event looms large on the horizon.