Start early & spend (next to) nought

Start early & spend (next to) nought

He is very much looking forward to the upcoming Dutch Life Sciences Conference. A scientist himself, Robbert-Jan de Lang, Patent Attorney with EP&C, feels quite at home among the young entrepreneurs, researchers and specialists thronging to this annual event. ‘A technologist is what I am and advising start-ups is what I do.’

‘You can recognise a start-up by two main characteristics: they have brilliant ideas, and they have no money.’ And what money they do have, Robbert-Jan explained, they naturally wish to spend on research and development of their ideas. They know patenting their invention is a costly business, and they want to make it as lean and mean as possible. That is why it is extremely important to start thinking about protecting your Intellectual Property at a very early stage.

Meeting over a cup of coffee

Robbert-Jan operates on the interface between high-tech and patent law. His focus lies on helping start-ups present themselves favourably to venture capitalists, and to do so in the most efficient way possible. ‘We are happy to advise young entrepreneurs about protecting their ideas and avoid poaching on other people's preserves.’ But start-ups by definition do not have the money to spend on expensive legal services. ‘That is why we want to meet with them at an early stage – for example over a cup of coffee – and draw up a simple patent strategy that does not cost the earth.'

DIY patent strategy

There is a lot that promising start-ups can do themselves. EP&C – the IP consultancy employing 80 professionals – will advise them to start by searching patent databases, scientific literature and the Internet to identify relevant technologies and the competition at an early stage. Later, when the enterprise has developed further, the , All information thus gathered will provide the patent attorney with a head start to help protect their Intellectual Property by securing patents. By drawing up a patent strategy at an early stage, it will be possible to take the right steps at the exact right moment. Not too early - that will be money ill spent - and not too late - everyone knows how costly lawsuits can be.

Don’t wait until it’s too late

Robbert-Jan de Lang will be a guest speaker at the Dutch Life Sciences Conference on 24 November in Leiden. He will be addressing his audience about patent law  and how to minimise the costs involved by doing what they can themselves. At DLSC, young talent will be meeting potential investors. And a venture capitalist wants to invest in promising products, but a product that is quite unique as well. ‘All too often, we are called in when it is (almost) too late.’

Is De Lang not afraid that he will put himself out of business this way? He laughed: ‘On the contrary! We aim for loyal partnerships on both sides. And we have seen that start-ups who are well-advised at an early stage, at very reasonable costs, will remain loyal.’

A good place to start research about Intellectual Property – IP – is

Stay up to date with the latest news!

Newsletter subscribe