Creating Your Own Real Estate Identity

So what does this have to do with “Creative Real Estate Investing”, you may ask?

It’s really quite simple! The power of establishing your own identity will set you apart from the “Real Estate Investor” masses! In order to do so, you will need to do the following:

· Establish a clear and compelling vision

· Decide on what you hope to achieve and what you are doing it for

· Create a solid foundation on which to build your Real Estate business

· Establish your own branding

I am of the strong opinion that one of the reasons why our own Real Estate business has grown into what it is today, is as a result of taking the necessary time to establish a clear and compelling vision of what it was we wanted to achieve, and why we wanted to do it. We also established a solid foundation on which to build our vision. Without a solid foundation, nothing will last. Some people elect to cut corners and build their business on a “house of cards”…and we all know what can happen with that type of foundation, right?

Without a clear and compelling vision, you will have no map! Without a map, you cannot get to where you want to go. And if you do finally arrive at a location, it may not be exactly where you had in mind!

Do YOU have a…clear and compelling vision?

When we started on our own Real Estate Investing journey, we had a very clear vision. Our Real Estate business was going to be exactly that…a business! Not a “part time hobby” or something we were just going to “dabble” in, but a “real” business!

Once you have established a clear and compelling vision, it is essential for you to write it down. Have your vision engraved or printed on a plaque and hang it on a wall where you will see it each and every day. If you do this, you will be truly amazed at how much of a positive impact this will have on your Real Estate business.

I like to refer to this as…The Power of Auto Suggestion!

As a result of our clear and compelling vision, we did not elect to build our Real Estate business on a “house of cards” type foundation. Instead, we elected to build on a foundation that was fit for a “castle”!

Have you established a solid foundation for your Real Estate castle?

If not, I strongly encourage you to take the necessary time to look at your foundation and make the necessary adjustments…BEFORE the “house of cards” come tumbling down!

So how did we do all this? We started our Real Estate Investing journey by implementing effective systems and procedures, and by establishing our own branding. And I am NOT talking about branding four-legged animals here! I am talking about creating an “identity” for your business. When we set out on our own Real Estate Investing journey, we decided that we wanted to be totally different from everybody else! With this in mind, it is imperative that you take the necessary time to think about things such as your “colour” and your “message”. Once you have established these things you need to “STICK WITH THEM”! The power of establishing branding lies within consistency and frequency.

CAUTION… Do not rush into this too quickly!

Why? Because branding is not something you want to keep changing. Take the necessary time to think it through before you make any commitments.

Remember…branding will also become your foundation from which you will build!

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Commercialisation Of Technology: Key Issues To Remember

1) Universities or other private and public institutions regularly undertake research on various areas. Very often the research has as its ultimate goal commercialization, profit-making and winning competition. Research may be commercialised in two ways: (i) New companies are created which are provided with access to the intellectual property rights (IPR), facilities or assets of one party; (ii) Technology may be made available to existing companies. Typically, this would involve the commercial licensing of research work directly to industry, for example, to large pharmaceutical or medical companies.

2) For a collaboration to take place there needs to be an agreement between the parties in place clearly setting out the contributions of each party and of course the rewards should the technology be proved successful. This is achieved by entering into a Technology Transfer Agreement, which addresses the following:

1. Nature of the IPR involved/transferred
Define exactly what rights are to be transferred.

2. Method of the transfer
The next most fundamental issue to be resolved is the method by which the IPR will be transferred from one or more parties, that is, by assignment or licence.

a. Assignment
An outright assignment gives the assignee greater freedom in relation to the technology, since in a typical assignment, there are few, if any, controls placed on the assignee by the assignor. In the event of insolvency, the assignee has an asset that can be sold to create value for the shareholders. Of course, if the assignee has become insolvent it may be because there is no market for the product. However, if the product has failed for other reasons, such as lack of marketing support, lack of follow-on funding, or issues affecting customers a willing buyer may exist for the technology. The practical benefit is that it should be easier (or cheaper) to raise funds if the assignee has some form of assets. Investors usually prefer to invest in a company which owns and has freedom to use all of its assets. If an outright assignment is not possible, this can also be achieved with an exclusive licence.

b. Licences
A licence gives the parties a greater feeling of control and also an ability to participate in any successful commercialisation of the technology through royalty streams, as well as being able to participate in any growth of the spin-out business as a shareholder. A licence also ensures greater flexibility for the party; it may be possible to provide that the licence terminates if certain conditions are fulfilled (for example, if the licensee fails to exploit or to exploit successfully the transferred technology). The licensor then has the option to take back the licence and perhaps proceed with a new licensee.

A compromise worth considering is a licence with an assignment trigger built in. The trigger can be linked to the value of the licensee, the return to the licensor(s), or to some other factor. In this way the licensor(s) are protected at a time when the spin-out is most vulnerable and, from the licensee’s point of view, should it succeed, it is very likely that it will end up owning the technology outright.

In other scenarios, the licensee can be expected to agree to certain performance criteria. These will often be linked to the number of sales or revenue generated from sales or other commercial exploitation of the licensed technology. Failure to meet the criteria will see the licence come to an end or for the licence to become non-exclusive instead.

3. Consideration
The consideration for the transfer of technology can be made up of equity, up-front payments, royalties, or a mixture of all three. This tends to be an area which is most heavily influenced by policies adopted from time to time by the various parties to the agreement. Other factors may affect the value, for example, where one or more of the contributors to the technology was not an employee, but for example, a post-graduate student or consultant. In fact, a post-graduate student will generally fall outside the definition of “employee” under the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988, and so the IPR may not belong to the university.

4. Other rights and obligations
Whatever the nature of the IPR transfer, the parties need to agree what continuing rights (if any) the parties will have to use the IPR. If a party is a university it is generally agreed that the university can continue to carry out non-commercial research and teaching using the transferred technology. However, it is worth investigating whether there are existing research projects, such as PhD theses, which need to be completed. If so, specific rights should be carved out of the transfer agreement as necessary to ensure that these projects can be completed. Also it is important to have a clear agreement as to which party will bear and be responsible for: (i) any prosecution and other protection of the transferred rights costs (for example prosecution of patent applications so that they become patents granted!) and (ii) any regulatory licences and approvals.

5. IPR Infringements
The key question to be addressed is which party will have primary responsibility for dealing with any IPR infringement of the transferred technology. It is important for the spin-out company/licensee to ensure that it has the appropriate rights to take action against a third party which is infringing the transferred technology in some way.

This article is for general purposes and guidance only and does not constitute legal or professional advice.

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