The right IP agreements play a huge role in how valuable your patents will be over time.
One of the dirty secrets of coworking spaces, startup accelerators, incubators, and other collaborative environments is that the mere act of collaborating can devalue your intellectual property.
The typical scenario is when two coworkers from different companies collaborate over the coffee pot. If a patent or other intellectual property comes from that interaction, will the patent include both names as inventors? If it does, the patent might be owned by two separate companies. If it does not, the patent will be invalid for fraudulently stating the inventors.
Because of the risk of improper inventorship, every patent that originates in a coworking space, accelerator, incubator, or other collaborative environment has its value cut in half on the secondary patent market.
That’s right: work in a collaborative environment and lose half of your IP’s value.
This problem is not discussed anywhere, but it is a reality once intense due diligence occurs on the company or on its IP. The market is not saying that the patent is invalid or has problems, but there is such a high risk of problems that the risk must be factored into valuation.
How do you solve this problem?
The Ethical Collaboration Association offers several levels of collaborative agreements, and each of them solve this problem. For coworking spaces, incubators, accelerators, hackerspaces, makerspaces, mastermind groups, and other collaborative environments, the best protection comes from having all members sign the Ethical Collaboration Agreement as part of their default terms and conditions.