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6 reasons 2018 will be a good year for intellectual property

As an entrepreneur, you seek to maximize the return on your hard work by obtaining patents and establishing your intellectual property (IP). According to some experts, there has been a significant drop in entrepreneurship in the last decade due to policies which weakened the patent system.

Here are the six industry changes which are set to turn things around:

1. Venture capital investment in start-ups surges

Last year over $148 billion was invested by VC firms in start-ups and more VC backed start-ups reached unicorn status. The stock market is booming, the tax code is being revised and job growth looks good. 2018 is looking to be an excellent time for entrepreneurs overall.

2. Patent system turnaround looming

The Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB) has a reputation for destroying patents of small and medium-sized businesses. An upcoming ruling will determine the scope of the PTABs ability to continue this practice without due process.

In addition, the U.S. Senate will be voting on the appointment of the next Under Secretary of Commerce for Intellectual Property and Director of the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO). Changes here could see positive movement for startups that have been hampered by large tech's push to destroy patent law.

3. Artificial Intelligence (AI) is the next "big thing."

McKinsey predicts AI-related ventures will grow into a $13 trillion market opportunity. AI is set to affect every area of business. Opportunities exist in machine learning, autonomous vehicles and robotics.

4. Freelance and gig economy booming

42 percent of small businesses use freelance workers to manage labor costs and add flexibility. Freelancers are expected to represent almost half of employed workers by 2020. New business opportunities abound to address the unique needs of a freelance workforce.

5. New business license practices should avoid "license wars" of the past

Self-driving cars will be a hot sector going forward. In previous tech booms, like wireless, competitors fought for licenses and created havoc for new entrants. Look for a more collective and transparent model to emerge for auto.

6. IP education set to grow

USC launched the first undergrad course on the basics of IP in the United States. If successful, look for other schools to follow suit. With IP contributing 38.2 percent of U.S GDP or over $6 trillion a year it is important everyone has some understanding of IP.

Planning a new start-up? Have questions about how to best protect your intellectual property? Make sure you consult an attorney who specializes in IP and business law.

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