A: Not as such. No-one can legally claim a monopoly over an idea, except where it is possible to patent it. And in order to obtain a patent, you have to disclose full details of how your idea works, which gives others the opportunity to copy it or design around it.
Inngot registration asserts your ownership
of your intellectual assets. How much protection this process offers depends on what underlying rights you have.
For instance, if your software is protected by copyright, registration will "date stamp" your ownership and put others on notice of it. This is particularly useful if someone infringes your rights (in law, you can only claim damages if you have put others on notice of your copyright) or if you plan to sell or licence your copyright to others.
Q: What protection does Inngot offer for trade secrets and proprietary processes?
A: Inngot supports the commercial exploitation of your trade secrets and proprietary processes by helping you explain what you own, without disclosing the detail.
Copyright can offer some protection for these intellectual assets once they are documented. The relevant law applies to the expression of an idea, which can include process maps and drawings as well as words.
However, some care is needed. While an undocumented trade secret is likely to be an "intellectual asset", it is not protected property under intellectual property law. If you disclose your trade secret to another party without appropriate safeguards, they may copy your idea and work around your secret.
If you want to enter into commercial discussions where an element of disclosure is likely, make sure you get a confidentiality agreement in place first (Inngot full members can download a free template from the resources section of our website and modify it as needed).
Q: Why should I register my innovation with Inngot when I have applied to register formal IP rights?
A: Your ability to successfully deliver products and services is very unlikely to be dependent on a single IP asset. A combination of elements - copyright, trademarks, designs, patents, trade secrets, proprietary processes and database rights - may all play a part.
Inngot is unique in providing a service to describe the "bundles" of intellectual assets within your organisation which support a particular innovation. Identifying all your assets is crucial if you want to realise value from them, whether through licensing or secured financing, or through the sale of a business.
Inngot has now introduced Sollomon, a new indicative valuation service for your intellectual assets, which provides a quick and cost-effective means to obtain an indication of what they may be worth.
Q: Who will be able to see the innovation I register with Inngot?
A: Every other organisation joining Inngot will be able to see your organisation and innovation profiles if your details correspond with the searches they conduct. In addition, some government agency teams have access to Inngot so that they can identify knowledge and technologies which other companies are seeking, to broker collaborations.
A: Since registration is necessary in order to view any details, Inngot is a "closed community" and all searches leave a trace which can be interrogated in the event of a suspected infringement.
Q: Why does Inngot require businesses to use its own classification system?
A: If you've tried searching for intellectual property or any intangible assets using search engines or other network websites, you'll already know the answer to this question!
Inngot establishes a common language for describing organisations and innovations within the "knowledge economy". This is particularly important if you are trying to find technology and/or capabilities that may lie within an unfamiliar sector.
Q: What checks does Inngot carry out on me and on other registrants?
A: Inngot uses Companies House data to verify key details provided by full members. Where verification has taken place, this is indicated by a special "seal" icon in the organisation profile.
Inngot also asks for information on any registered IP rights so that these can be cross-checked.
While Inngot provides a standardised classification method to enable innovations to be described, we do not purport to verify their existence or ownership. Therefore, if you are contemplating entering into commercial discussions prompted by an Inngot registration, the onus is on you to ensure that the organisation in question actually owns and possesses the assets they have registered with Inngot.
Sollomon IP value indicator: Frequently Asked Questions
Q: How is Sollomon different from a business valuation?
A: Business valuations generally assume that you want to sell part or all of your company and its assets. Sollomon, by contrast, is designed to give you an indication of what the intellectual assets in your organisation, linked to a particular innovation, might be worth. It is therefore much more relevant than a business valuation if your interest is in licensing your assets to other parties, or exploring their security value for financing.
The Sollomon process has also proved helpful for companies seeking equity investment (where intellectual property of all kinds is usually a vital consideration) and negotiating partnership arrangements (where the relative value of each party's contribution often needs to be established).
Q: What information do I need to provide to obtain a Sollomon value indication?
A: You'll need some high-level historical financials, projections for at least three years (preferably five), and you'll need to know how the intangible assets you have purchased and/or developed are currently represented in your accounts (if at all).
A: Most other items are derived from your Inngot organisation and innovation profiles, which need to be complete. For this reason you need to join Inngot as a full member to complete a Sollomon indicative valuation.
You can see a full guide to the information required by clicking here.
Q: How do I enter my data?
A: After you accept the Sollomon terms and conditions, you will be asked to complete four short sets of questions, headed Investment, History, Forecasts and Governance. You navigate between these sections using the tabs near the top of the page.
When you finish each question, and each section, you'll see a tick appear to show that it has been validly completed. Once all four headings are ticked, you can perform your indicative valuation.
Please note: you cannot conduct a valuation until you have entered at least one innovation profile to value.
Q: What happens if I make a mistake?
A: The Sollomon process automatically saves each completed question so you can pause the process as often as necessary without losing your data.
You can change the information entered as many times as you like until you first click 'Perform Valuation' (the button is disabled until all four tabbed sections have been completed).
Once your valuation has been first calculated, you have a seven-day period during which you can revisit your entries and re-calculate the indicative value two more times at no additional charge. Each recalculation will provide a new certificate and a new verification reference.
Q: If I put in a high future forecast, will I get a high indicated value?
A: Not necessarily, and you should use projections you believe to be realistic and achievable. While future cashflows play an important part in Sollomon's method of calculation, its scorecards are designed to detect and discount significant leaps in revenues that are not backed by historical performance. Also, your value indication is presented alongside with your projected performance - so if your forecasts aren't deliverable, your valuation won't be credible.
Q: How credible is a Sollomon value indication?
A: Sollomon has been created by Inngot with specialist input from leading business advisers Grant Thornton UK LLP. It uses the well-established "relief from royalty" principle to determine values - briefly, this works out the business benefit of an innovation by calculating an estimated royalty rate a company would otherwise have to pay to use it.
This is then combined with scorecards that factor in an assessment of your markets, investment, development, intellectual asset strength and coverage to set the discount rate used to produce a present day value range. The value range, royalty rate and discount rate are all shown on the Sollomon certificate.
Q: How accurate is a Sollomon value indication?
A: Sollomon is intended to provide a consistent and impartial assessment of the data you provide, to act as a starting point for negotiations. Clearly, it has some limitations: in particular, it is based on a restricted set of data, and may or may not reflect the value you can achieve in an actual transaction.
Ultimately, as any accountant will confirm, the true value of your intangible assets (or any other assets) will be determined by what someone is prepared to pay for them. In an arm's length sale, this will often be determined by non-financial factors, such as the strategic advantage your innovation represents, which Sollomon cannot model. Equally, if you are using your intangible assets as security, you should expect your lender to build in a margin for error.
Q: Can I share my valuation with other people?
A: Yes - though it's important to note that your Sollomon certificate cannot be viewed by anyone else until you share the special 19-character Sollomon certificate number with them.
Once a third party (such as a stakeholder or professional adviser) has the certificate number, you can direct them to www.inngot.com/verify
where they can enter their details and view the associated certificate.
If you don't want any third party to be able to view your value indication, you can turn the verification facility off by unticking the box provided at the top of your certificate.
'Inngot' and 'Sollomon' are registered trade marks of Inngot Limited.