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The Role of Intellectual Property Protection in the Business Strategy of University Spin-Off Biotech Companies in a Small Transition Economy

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Spin-off biotech companies often have difficulties in creating competitive advantage through protection of their intellectual property, due to their limited human and financial resources. Having considered the value of the intellectual property and questions of enforceability, spin-off companies should use patenting only for inventions with a high market value and high patent enforceability; otherwise, publishing early or keeping the invention a trade secret should be preferred. This allows the inventor to benefit from operational freedom while maintaining low costs. The impact of the protected intellectual property on the success of the firm depends on its speed of entry into the market and when it reaches break-even point. In a transition country with a poorly developed entrepreneurial environment, patents may expire before the spin-off company has produced any profit from its expenditures on the protection of the intellectual property. It should also be remembered that their products may contain modules which are already protected by other inventors. Consequently, a strategically fundamental issue for the success of spin-off firms is the careful selection of the markets in which to operate, and the choice of the proper degree and method of intellectual property protection.


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