IP100 2020 Online Publication

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IP100 RESULTS 2020 Powered by Metis Partners

P2i REACH THE TOP SPOT Scoring Top 5 in each IP category


2020 saw business models change and IP was often critical to those shifts

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hese are the delayed 2020 IP100 rankings,

an assessment of IP-specific data linked to the

our sixth since launch in 2015. Of course,

5 IP asset categories that we identified 6 years

we all know that 2020 will be remembered

ago, that we thought were going to drive the

for many things, but most notably the

modern economy: brand & reputation, patents,

impact that COVID-19 had on the world

critical databases & analytics, software and

around us. No-one was left unaffected

trade secrets.

as people, business, governments and

economies adapted to this dramatic and

sudden change in their equilibrium, in fact their way of life. Despite the chaos, 2020 did allow many business owners to pivot

their business models, often using IP assets to repurpose their products and services into new segments and new markets.

We were excited to score many new IP100 entrants that clearly have invested in building strong IP portfolios and actively managing these assets. Notable new entrants who achieved Top 20 positions in their ‘rookie year’ were Vert Rotors, VC EXPERIENCE and SnapDragon Monitoring.

This in fact was the outcome for overall

Recognition has become key for many repeat

winner P2i, who successfully pivoted into

entrants in the IP100 as there is no other

Stephen Robertson,

new markets & segments, providing their

benchmark quite like the IP League Table.

CEO and Founder, IP100 and Metis Partners

IP-backed waterproof coating technologies

I recall one entrant, a few years back who

to a market that was desperate to find

finished in third spot overall, requested 100

other IP strategy ideas should they consider to

protection for vital electronic devices as we

copies of the IP100 magazine to send to key

improve the value of their IP and their IP scores.

sprayed, washed, disinfected and cleaned

customers, stakeholders and other contacts.

Of course, we don’t want the ‘tail wagging the

smartphones, touchscreens and point of sale

Others notable entrants have requested

dog’ and we reminded them it had to make

devices, which had not been designed to

200-word quotes for website pages celebrating

sense for their business and improve their

withstand this new “harsh environment”.

their IP100 success. A few coveted the IP100

overall competitive moat. Nevertheless, it’s been

trophies that the IP category winners received,

great to see other entrants seek to improve

so they could put them proudly on their

their scores and their business competitiveness,

reception desk, which sadly may now be rather

just by scoring well and following best practise

dusty during COVID.

in IP protection and management, even in just

The IP100 is now an eco-system for

IP-rich and innovative companies to gain recognition for their IP achievements.

More importantly the IP100 has become

one IP asset category.

a platform to help entrants measure their

More seasoned entrants outside the Top 10,

effectiveness in IP management and find

were focused on their league table position, as

Finally, it was great to see P2i get the

measurable improvements they can make

they wanted to show progress to shareholders

recognition they deserve this year having

to IP policies and processes, often improving

and sought advice on what activities might

consistently been in the Top 10 in the last

their financial performance. Our IP League

propel them into the Top 10 next year. What

3 years. We were delighted to put P2i under

Table scoring and ranking process involves

IP related activities, IP protection measures or

our IP spotlight.

THERESULTS We are delighted to announce the 2020 results

vital to the sustainability of any business

overlap between the IP100 entrants and the

for the sixth annual IP League Table. Firstly,

operating in the modern economy; where your

businesses they were targeting. The corporate

welcome to the many new entrants to the

customer loyalty program can steer a primary

and IP team at new sponsors Brown Rudnick

IP100, several of whom have entered both

revenue channel, and where you are forced to

had a particular interest and strong reputation

the Top 20 overall and secured top places in

pivot to focus on a digital presence when

in clean energy, digital health, biotech and

individual IP asset categories. We have been

normal channels have been temporarily closed.

diagnostics and it wasn’t difficult to see the

impressed with the high standard of IP management evident from companies who have improved their position significantly from last year, moving more than 15 places in some categories. In addition, two new entrants achieved Top 20 positions in software and three new entrants achieved Top 20 in Brand & Reputation, proving once again

We were excited to score several new IP100 entrants that clearly have invested in building strong IP portfolios and are actively

M&A and IP deal experience they could bring to a large percentage of IP100 entrants in those sectors.

managing these assets. Notable new entrants

Finally, we were pleased to work again

who achieved Top 20 positions in their ‘rookie

with PatSnap, a global leader in connected

year’ were Vert Rotors, VC EXPERIENCE and

innovation intelligence. With 10,000+

SnapDragon Monitoring.

customers in 40+ different countries, they know what matters when it comes to IP.

that the IP100 is enabling these companies

We congratulate all our new IP100 entrants

to gain the recognition they deserve for their

for taking an active role in putting their

Unfortunately, COVID-19 impacted our IP100

investment in IP.

IP assets and IP strategy under the spotlight.

Club Event schedule, and we all know that

We are delighted to welcome them into the

nothing beats face to face interaction. However,

IP100 community and hope that in 2021 we

working with PatSnap, we launched our highly

will be able to welcome you to in-person IP100

successful IP Disruptors programme: a series

Club events before the year is out, to hear

of fireside chats about what’s important in

first-hand from other IP-rich fast-growing

IP in the current market. These will continue

entrants how they best protect and leverage

through 2021 with thought provoking content

their IP to support business expansion.

and speakers from IP100 sponsors and guest

Entrants will now realise that securing your

speakers who are acknowledged experts

IP score is just the beginning of this journey.

in the various pillars that make up an

IP100 companies use their score as a

effective IP strategy.

Congratulations go to P2i who was the top scoring IP100 company in the 2020 rankings, having been runner-up for the last two consecutive years. P2i develops and manufactures liquid repellent nanocoatings, and its outstanding IP strategy and IP management resulted in it achieving a Top 5 position in each of the five asset categories this year. Last year’s winner, M Squared, a photonics technology company, continued its IP100 legacy, taking the runner-up spot this year. In third place was Canon Medical Research Europe, the medical software research and development centre based in Edinburgh. These three companies are our ‘patent giants’ and were again the Top 3 entrants in the

benchmark, a valuable baseline from which to review their IP strategies. We look forward to seeing how our new entrants improve and bolster their IP portfolios and IP score over the next year.

Despite the pandemic, our IP100 scoring team still managed to speak with new and existing entrants with relative ease. Our team was delighted to capture entrant updates on how R&D and innovation had progressed during the economic shutdown, and to hear how many

patent category.


Major moves were made by Intelligent Plant,

We were delighted to welcome new sponsors,

Good Loop and dCS who all achieved notable

FactorTech and Brown Rudnick and we

improvements in their IP score as a result

developed our partnership with IP100

The IP100 and IP League Table remains one

of creating new IP assets and improving IP

champion PatSnap. Factortech provide loans

of the UK’s most dynamic platforms for scalable

management, which was reflected in their

of up to £2 million in the form of receivable

IP-rich companies seeking investment.

overall rankings.

finance to UK SMEs who qualify for R&D Tax

It continues to raise awareness nationwide

Credit claims and UK Innovation Grants.

about the vital importance of IP in contributing

They are targeting high growth innovative

to the growth economy, in what remain

companies and they saw the obvious clear

difficult economic circumstances.

We saw evidence during this turbulent last 12 months, how a robust IP strategy can be

of them have adapted their business models, leveraged customer loyalty and engaged with clients and customers through new channels.



IP100 entrants clearly recognise the importance of formal brand

The IP League Table ranking process is based upon the assessment of

protection, with over 95% of entrants opting to register at least their

five key IP asset classes: (1) Brand & Reputation, (2) Patents, (3) Critical

corporate or product brand. Customer loyalty remains critical for

Databases, (4) Software and (5) Trade Secrets. These IP asset categories

IP100 entrants, even more so during the pandemic and 64% of

are consistently recognised as being some of the key IP assets owned,

entrants noted that over half of their business is repeat business.

managed and relied on by highly successful companies in the modern

Although not all IP100 entrants have patents, more than 70% of entrants in the patent category secured patent protection in more than one commercially relevant territory. More than 80% of them said they were actively policing their patents and over 60% stated they have a “robust enforcement policy.” This is another clear indication that IP100 entrants are becoming more sophisticated when it comes to IP. Data clearly was an important asset to any business in 2020 as they coped with a changing business model and wider separation from customers. 87% of entrants believed that data underpinned at least half of their revenue and it is not surprising then that more than 70% of companies noted the importance of data analytics, with almost a quarter of them relying on this to inform business decisions. It was clear that trade secrets were well understood by IP100 entrants with 75% of all entrants recognising and reporting trade secrets in their business. We were pleased to hear that 65% of scoring entrants in this category maintain a centralised and updated register. The same percentage have formalised policies for capturing newly created trade secrets and almost all of them had segregated access to their trade secrets. As always, the software IP asset category was tightly contested. Some entrants did mention enhanced security protocols during the pandemic, and it was clear working from home had encouraged some entrants to build what they said were more effective ways for the software development teams to work remotely.

economy. They are used to create effective and robust barriers to entry, and typically underpin the competitive advantages needed for rapid growth and international expansion. An effective IP strategy focused on building a competitive moat around a business, clearly offers these companies the ability to scale up quickly. Our IP100 team was led once again by Ryan Diamond and Fergus Horne, who for the last two years have been responsible for scoring IP100 entrants. Ryan has worked with both our Corporate Restructuring and IP Advisory teams and Fergus has worked with some of our largest and most complex IP Valuation clients over the last two years. This IP100 team not only knows about our methodology, but it has also gained vast experience of how IP strategy influences business strategy and how robust and scalable IP assets can drive growth. Ryan and Fergus were therefore ideally placed to appraise and score our five IP100 asset categories. One of our senior analysts Miguel Benitez, played an important role in designing improvements we made to the IP scoring methodology in certain IP asset classes. Marketing Exec Samantha Main did a sterling job managing sponsors, entrants and maximising our social media and communications during the countdown.” The team has seen first-hand, evidence of how well-protected, well-managed IP assets can be leveraged to secure investment, funding, attract M&A and joint venture opportunities and maintain premium product and service pricing.


1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20

P2i M Squared Canon Medical Research Europe Kromek Group Adrok Premier COREX Shot Scope Technologies Heald Sphere Fluidics Grid Smarter Cities Digitonic Vert Rotors Good-Loop dCS Parsyfal VC EXPERIENCE Intelligent Plant Polarisoft SnapDragon Monitoring Double Your Success

KEY (Industry %) Business and Financial Services 9%

Material Science and Engineering 15%

Healthcare and Med-Tech 2%

Media and Communication 5%

IoT and Software 30%

Oil and Gas 2%

Leisure and Entertainment 2%

Pharma and Life Sciences 9%

Manufacturing 12%

Retail 14%

“ Congratulations to P2i who have achieved the top spot in the IP100 in 2020. P2i, specialise in developing and manufacturing liquid repellent nanocoatings. Their investment in IP strategy and IP management saw them scoring in the Top 5 in each of the five IP asset categories.”

The following tables highlight the results obtained from the scoring of entrants. As noted above, the process involves an assessment of IP-specific data linked to the following five IP asset categories: Brand & Reputation, Patents, Critical Databases, Software and Trade Secrets. The IP100 team use our proprietary process to calculate an IP100 score and subsequent ranking for each company. We are pleased to announce the leader boards:

BRAND & REPUTATION This year, M Squared, a photonics technology company, who came second overall in the League Table, achieved the top spot in Brand & Reputation. Technology-driven mobile marketing company, Digitonic, was in second place with its sophisticated brand portfolio and brand strategy. Parsyfal climbed ten places in Brand & Reputation this year, to take third place. Marketing channels, particularly social media, remain important to entrants with 56% of them having a committed strategy for both direct and indirect marketing. Despite the pandemic halting physical trade shows, exhibitions and events, IP100 companies are adapting to a digital environment in order to sustain their market exposure, with over 90% of entrants engaging in regular online events. Some notable mentions this year include dCS (Data Conversion Systems) who leapfrogged many entering the Top 20 after a great year for them including a highly acclaimed new product launch. Perhaps no surprise that the brand protection experts at SnapDragon Monitoring jumped straight into the Top 10 in their first year in the IP100.

1 2 3 4 5 6 7

M Squared Digitonic Parsyfal P2i Premier COREX Polarisoft Kromek Group

8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20

dCS Heald SnapDragon Monitoring Intelligent Plant Shot Scope Technologies Grid Smarter Cities VC EXPERIENCE Good-Loop Candidate.ID Canon Medical Research Europe Adrok Vert Rotors Klik2Learn

PATENTS The 2020 IP100 Top 3 were in the same running order in the Patent category. P2i took the honours, with M Squared and Canon Medical Research Europe in second and third, respectively. Although these patent-rich businesses were table-topping in this category in 2019, they all had bolstered their patent portfolios over the last 12 months. This asset class had the narrowest margin separating the top two entrants, with P2i edging into first place by less than a percentage point in a highly competitive asset class, showcasing these innovative technology companies. A key trend of 2020 was increased IP protection, but it is not just protection for the sake of it. For many IP100 companies, their patents underpin materially significant revenue streams. 75% of entrants in this category estimated that their patents underpinned more than 50% of their revenue streams. Notable mentions include Vert Rotors and ZPN Energy, both of whom appeared in the Top 20 in their first year of entering. This score, as well as a strong performance in other IP asset classes, helped them secure a well-deserved position in the IP League Table this year.

1     2     3     4     5     6     7     8     9    10    11    12    13    14    15    16    17    18    19    20

P2i M Squared Canon Medical Research Europe Koolmill Systems Kromek Group Grid Smarter Cities Adrok Shot Scope Technologies Sphere Fluidics Vert Rotors Heald Premier COREX ZPN Energy Visual Products toolsoup City Farm Systems So To Company dCS Biogelx Good-Loop

KEY (Industry) Business and Financial Services

Material Science and Engineering

Healthcare and Med-Tech

Media and Communication

IoT and Software

Oil and Gas

Leisure and Entertainment

Pharma and Life Sciences



CRITICAL DATABASES The GDPR revolution may be over, but nevertheless we saw an increase once again in the average score for entrants in the Critical Databases category. In first place, with the strongest score in a single IP asset category, was Digitonic, who jumped five places this year to claim the top spot. In second place was P2i, who utilise proprietary product and chemistry databases to support their revenue streams. Third place went to M Squared, who rely on data and analytics as well as maintaining its robust data management strategy to ensure GDPR compliance. One might argue that 2020 was all about data and we don’t believe it’s a short-term trend. The rise of data and data analytics was never more evident than last year when many customer-focused sectors were relying on key customer data, to engage directly with consumers during lockdown. Although customer databases is only one of the many key database assets measured in this category, 64% of IP100 companies reported that over half of their trade is generated by returning customers, demonstrating the power of capturing and analysing customer and transactional data. Over 90% of entrants reported that data management, including customer and technical databases, was a critical component of their business, compared to 73% last year. IP100 companies are clearly aware of their regulatory GDPR responsibilities with more than 95% of them holding data that they said requires ‘regular cleansing’. Notable mentions in this category go to Intelligent Plant and Parsyfal who made scoring improvements in this category, and to new entrant AVET Technology who achieved a fourth place in this category in its first year, appreciating the value of data since they provide digital “evidence” gathering technology solutions.

1    2    3    4    5    6    7

Digitonic P2i M Squared AVET Technology Parsyfal Canon Medical Research Europe Adrok

8    9    10    11    12    13    14    15    16    17    18    19    20

Shot Scope Technologies Intelligent Plant Good-Loop Premier COREX Grid Smarter Cities Polarisoft Vert Rotors SnapDragon Monitoring Candidate.ID Heald Sphere Fluidics Xergy (Proteus) Biogelx

SOFTWARE Software continues to be the most highly contested IP asset category, with the Top 20 separated by less than ten percentage points. Three quarters of entrants scoring in this category have developed software models to underpin a product and more than half have developed a SaaS model for distributing software. Software protection is a key part of software development, with all scoring entrants utilising encryption and offsite backups, typically via cloud services. Congratulations goes to Intelligent Plant who moved up from third position last year to top the Software asset category in 2020. Its Industrial App Store enables oil & gas related operators to streamline production, increase efficiency and limit unnecessary expenditure. Digitonic climbed ten places in the rankings to take second place and in third place was previous winner, Polarisoft known for its PPM Anywhere project management software. Notable mentions go to dCS, who leapt 19 places to secure sixth place in the Software category, the biggest leap in an individual category ranking this year, and to new entrant, PayDock, who achieved an impressive tenth place in this highly competitive asset category.

1   2   3   4   5   6   7   8   9   10   11   12   13   14   15   16   17   18   19   20

Intelligent Plant Digitonic Polarisoft Parsyfal P2i dCS MindGenius Canon Medical Research Europe Premier COREX PayDock Kromek Group Adrok Shot Scope Technologies Grid Smarter Cities M Squared Vert Rotors Exmos Tempus IME Good-Loop Klik2Learn

KEY (Industry) Business and Financial Services

Material Science and Engineering

Healthcare and Med-Tech

Media and Communication

IoT and Software

Oil and Gas

Leisure and Entertainment

Pharma and Life Sciences



TRADE SECRETS More entrants than ever are utilising trade secrets to protect their most critical IP assets, with 75% of all entrants reporting they recognise trade secrets in their business. Almost all of the entrants who scored in this category reported that they segregated trade secret access within their business to provide a higher degree of protection. In first place was Digitonic and second place again went to Sphere Fluidics, who have maintained a strong trade secrets policy having achieved the runner-up spot in this asset class in 2019. IP100 overall winner of 2020, P2i, secured third place in the Trade Secrets Category. A growth in trade secret recognition is evident throughout our IP100 community. The average score in the Trade Secrets Category has more than doubled since last year and more than half of those assessed in this category achieved a score of more than 75%. Notable mentions include previous entrants Intelligent Plant, Tempus IME, and dCS, all in this year’s Top 20 and new entrants SnapDragon Monitoring and VC EXPERIENCE who jumped straight into the Top 20 in this category.

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20

Digitonic Sphere Fluidics P2i M Squared Canon Medical Research Europe Parsyfal Kromek Group Adrok SnapDragon Monitoring Heald Double Your Success Premier COREX Intelligent Plant Biogelx Shot Scope Technologies Grid Smarter Cities VC EXPERIENCE Tempus IME dCS Good-Loop

KEY (Industry) Business and Financial Services

Material Science and Engineering

Healthcare and Med-Tech

Media and Communication

IoT and Software

Oil and Gas

Leisure and Entertainment

Pharma and Life Sciences



AND OTHER NOTABLE ENTRANTS 12Ronnies 1st Planner 20/20 Business Insight Acuutech Adrok Altea Consulting Altia Solutions Anatom Animation Garden Appointedd Articulate Scotland AVET Technology Beacon Centre for the Blind Biogelx Breaking Free Online Bright Ethics Bright Office Candidate.ID Canon Medical Research Europe Captec CC Technology Celixir Celtic Design Consultants Centrepoint Computer Services (oomi) City Farm Systems Cleansorb Clydebuilt Business Solutions Comedy & Confidence CompanyNet Connect-In (Xupo) ContractsWise CSignum Cyberhawk Innovations Cytomos Datatecnics dCS (Data Conversion Systems) Deep Tek Winch IP Desktop Genetics DGA Precision Digitonic Dogtag Double Your Success Downhole Energy Eagle Genomics Encompass Corporation

Enigma Digital Enkelt Exmos Formedix FusionExperience Geospatial Insight Global Surface Intelligence Good-Loop Gowanpoint (Kegsoft) Greengineering Grid Smarter Cities Guildhawk Heald Hotpod Yoga Hyperdrive Innovation Intelligent Plant Interactive Invitations Intrallect Iotic Labs Jones Publishing (Citywealth) KB Group KCP Environmental Services Klik2Learn Koolmill Systems Kromek Group Lexus International Lifescaped Loopeeze (FabLittleBag) M Squared Mallzee Marker Diagnostics Mativision Metail Miigen MindGenius Minerva Research Labs Mujo Mechanics nooQ OliveFountain P2i Pacifica Group Parsyfal PayDock Personify XP Polarisoft Premier COREX

R&G Associates Recycling Technologies Redu Group RimPro-Tec Roadvert (Spedian) Round Bank Engineering (Zikodrive) Sequoia Partnership Shot Scope Technologies Shyre SL Social Slange Var Smith & Sinclair SnapDragon Monitoring So To Company Soilutions Speech Graphics Sphere Fluidics Standard Life Employee Services Stevenson Astrosat Sunstore Technologies Swimming Nature Swipii Syrinix Tempus IME The PR Machine (PingGo) Tomatin Distillery Tookie toolsoup Torion JVG Totseat Trafalgar Marine Technology TTS Pharma UK Doorstep Choice UWI Technology VC EXPERIENCE Vert Rotors Visual Products (Visorcat) Wearable Technologies WeeWorld Wesellanycompany.com WheelRight Worldteachers Recruitment WRLD Xergy (Proteus) ZPN Energy

We represent emerging growth companies including in connection with their dealings with angel investors, strategic corporate investors, venture capital funds, hedge funds, private equity funds, and similar investment vehicles. Brown Rudnick provides start-ups and later stage growth companies and investors with strategic advice and guidance on organisation and capital structure, corporate finance, tax structuring, enhancing and managing growth, developing and managing their intellectual property assets and those of the companies in which they invest and liquidity and exit strategies, as well as structuring and negotiating joint ventures, mergers and acquisitions, strategic alliances, and technology and brand licensing and R&D and co-development relationships. Working alongside our global corporate, tax and finance lawyers, our Intellectual Property Team has a strong focus on Tech & Innovation, providing the full range of IP advice including on patent, software development and branding strategies; and has recently successfully represented an emerging fintech company in protecting its branding.

ingenuity inspires connects creates embraces wins

Intellectual property (IP) comes in several

different forms, such as patents, trademarks and design rights and all are critical, whether directly or indirectly, to the success and growth of businesses today. A business’ identity, marketing, brand value as well as its technical products, services and its innovation portfolio are important value assets and differentiators for businesses and are often drivers for investment. However, without the legal means to prevent and deter others from exploiting and copying a brand, product or invention, businesses will not be best placed to retain value and drive a return on investments and will ultimately fail to fulfil their potential. Here, Brown Rudnick explains why it is so crucial to plan early to avoid issues related to IP rather than sticking one’s head in the sand (which can often seem the attractive, short-term hassle free and cost effective option). At Brown Rudnick, our Corporate team works closely with our IP team to advise on implementing IP strategies for early stage businesses. IP strategies are increasingly what investors will look for in a business, in particular in those with technology at its heart. Investors will require evidence that the IP strategy is aligned with the commercial strategy. Whilst they will not want to see an overly burdensome IP strategy from a costs perspective investors

want to know that the economic value of their investment is protected through having adequate IP rights, which they know will aid the business in maximising its chances of future growth. This is inherently linked to the business’ ability to exploit its own IP with freedom to operate without having to worry that their IP is at risk of exploitation and theft by third parties. Being able to demonstrate that the business has a carefully considered, tailor-made IP strategy is a valuable part of the investment process – especially for those businesses where a lot of the value of the business is tied up in their IP. We are seeing an increase in businesses investing in IP strategies as IP itself is increasingly being invested in as an asset. A large reason for this is that the value of IP can grow very fast. Unlike real estate for example, the value of IP can increase exponentially. Furthermore, IP can be leveraged in many ways and can reduce operational risks. However, this is only possible with adequate protection. Investors will only trust a business if it sees a carefully considered and effective IP strategy in place. IP due diligence and auditing is often a time-consuming and burdensome affair; having created an IP strategy at the start streamlines the process for those looking at a target’s IP portfolio for the purpose of investment. In fact, even before the formal due diligence phase most investors will review potential investment opportunities from an IP perspective. Those businesses targeting investment from venture capitalists and private equity firms should ensure that their IP assets are in good order right from the start – if it isn’t, a business can forget about looking for funding or external investment. IP 100 highlights the value of technology by looking at five key IP asset classes; Brown Rudnick now analyse each of these to demonstrate their importance in formulating an effective IP strategy.

BRAND & REPUTATION The main rights involved in protecting a business’ brand and reputation are trade mark rights – registered and unregistered – as well as copyright and design rights – the latter are often forgotten about. We can assist with a strategy to develop the brand and reputation IP assets and to conduct searches to ensure that the preferred brands and designs can be used. Key considerations are ensuring that the marks (and designs where relevant) are capable of being registered in the first place and that they are registered in respect of a broad enough description of products and services with scope to protect the business as it develops and in the right territories – at a cost the young business can afford. To this end we can develop filing strategies to keep the costs under control using international treaties for filing. It’s also important to make sure the business’ logos are protected – not just by getting trade mark registrations for them but also ensuring that the business owns the copyright in them. Trade mark rights can last forever, and copyrights are very long lasting as well – another valuable feature as an asset.

PATENTS Patents, quite rightly commonly associated with tech companies, give a business a stateapproved monopoly over the technology described in the patent and so can be used to stop competitors from encroaching on your turf. They are expensive though – not only to obtain but also to maintain – and a young business needs guidance as to where and when they should spend the money. At Brown Rudnick we have a market leading tech patent practice based in the US which can help a business steer a path through these issues in the world’s leading technology and financing market; these rights born in the USA can, via

Brown Rudnick can advise on these issues as we have come across most of them before – including working with technical cyber security specialists to help protect your business from attackers.

SOFTWARE It goes without saying that the various forms of software are the cogs which turn the engine of almost every tech business. The principal IP rights which are used to protect software is copyright in the object and source codes, in the structure of the programming and in the individual algorithms and processes which together form the applications. But rights of confidence in the source code and its individual elements can be very important as well.

international treaties, be easily extended to other jurisdictions including of course the UK and the EU and we can also deal with this process (as well as the renewals of the rights) on a worldwide basis. Furthermore, using a patent to stop others from using your technology can be a very expensive process. Having a litigation team like the Brown Rudnick practice on hand with access to litigation funding is a very useful ally. Patents can also be used defensively to protect the business against other patent holders by agreeing cross-licensing deals and as a valuable source of income by licensing rights to others who are better placed to exploit and pay for them. Real expertise is needed to draft technology transfer agreements by advisers who have seen all the arguments before – expertise which Brown Rudnick has in bucket loads.

CRITICAL DATABASES In this data-driven world databases are an increasingly important asset for tech businesses to develop, to mine and to allow others to mine. Protecting them is not easy and serious thought needs to go into the process to ensure that the business developing the database is best placed to know they are free to use the data in them (especially when it is personal data) and to stop others from accessing it and the data in it. Every situation is different but there are overlapping IP and data protection rights which might be able to help as well as recent court decisions that data can be a property right in itself - this is an area of law which is developing incredibly fast, so it is one where you need real and broad expertise.

IP rights which may come into play include database rights (Brexit has somewhat confused the position on these), copyrights, rights of confidence and certain contractual rights. And don’t forget the importance of the increasing number of statutory interventions in this area – not just those protecting personal data but also specific rights given in respect of particular data such as clinical trial data and general rights of data sovereignty as countries increasing make a power grab to protect the data created in their territories.

For the purposes of obtaining investment as well as protecting a business it is crucial for the business to ensure that it owns or has the unfettered right to use the software in question. It sounds madness but we at Brown Rudnick commonly find that a business does not in fact own the copyright in the software which forms the foundation of its business and the courts are littered with cases of copyright infringement by ex-employees thinking they can take code with them. So, get it right from the start – and we at Brown Rudnick can help you to do this.

TRADE SECRETS Trade secrets or rights of confidence in valuable information (including in unpublished and unpatented technological advances and in the data in databases) can be a very effective asset for the business – and the value is not just in something like a formula or an algorithm but real value can be found in much more prosaic procedures and processes – often methods of operation which represent clear blue water from those used by competitors. Protecting these is not easy and it is often equally hard to ascribe value to them for the purposes of securing investment. Nevertheless a business should do all it can to ensure such information is protected by appropriate technical and organisational measures (to steal a phrase from the general data protection regulation) – these include ensuring NDAs are up to snuff, employment contracts have enforceable confidentiality obligations, that employees know what is confidential and what is not, that employees stick with the business and buy into the process, and that your IT and other security tools are state of the art.


Mark Lubbock – partner in IP team

Max Binney – associate in Corporate team

Sarah Melaney – partner in Corporate team

Proud Sponsors of IP100

FactorTech was created in 2019 to provide UK Tech Sector SMEs with rapid access to simple working capital solutions using R&D advance funding. We optimise your cashflows and unleash your growth potential. Our quest is to build your enterprise value – i.e. a measure of your company’s total value. Our team is made up of entrepreneurs who understand and appreciate the joys and frustrations of scaling and managing businesses. “Your intellectual property is capital and can be used as collateral in structuring your finance requirements without diluting your equity position.” George Weir Director, FactorTech

With $19 trillion, or nearly 85% of the value of the S&P 500, represented by intangible assets, investment in intellectual property (IP) has changed the global landscape across industries and regions. (Aon Insurance).

Proud Sponsors of IP100

• W e assist scaleups and mid-size businesses in their flight path and trajectory through receivables financing as an equity substitute / bridging finance. • O ur sweet spot is in Government backed receivables such as HMRC R&D Claims, VGTR claims and IP rich innovation through Innovate UK, Horizon 2020 grants, RSA and similar EU agencies. £250k to £2m but can go lower or higher. • W e can finance R&D claims before year end – in some cases quite early on in the year. • W e can look at Innovate UK contracts / EU equivalent at the outset or halfway through contract period as well. • W e fund all types of technology businesses – we are sector agnostic. • There is no arrangement fee, no prepayment penalty. • W e are flexible to meet the needs of the client and we move fast (inquiry to deployment of funds typically < 1 week). • S ecured against saleable assets or IP (IP valuations can come from venture capitalists, accountancy firms or industry specialists such as Metis Partners). • L egal costs (are borne by the client and can be as low as £2,000). • M arket interest rate charged monthly.



Email: george.weir@factortech.co.uk


Phone: +44 (0) 7801 355 095



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