So I've recently started work at a startup managing their legal (IP) function. I am experiencing some challenges so I was hoping to get the sub's advice on whether this is typical or maybe I am not a good fit with them.
The company is funded and post-revenue but still a young, small startup.
So in the first few weeks I have been enquiring about how IP fits into the overall company plans and what their goals are for the function. I am slightly concerned that the answers have been very unspecific, and not all mindful about why the function exists for them.
For example, it turns out that they've never looked at (or thought about) how much they're spending on IP. And when I put some current figures together with projections, they weren't able to give me any feedback about the figures in relation to a potential budget. Was it too much? More than they thought? Could we spend more? Nothing.
Also, it's hard for me at the moment to get any answers on why they have IP, and how they think it fits into the overall goals for the company. Do we want a defensive portfolio in case an incumbent sues? Do we want just as big a portfolio as possible for exit via sale to a larger company? Unclear.
It also means that it is really difficult to discuss what their goals were for the function and how to build towards them. Or what I should be doing, more than the day to day operational stuff that needs doing.
This makes me feel a bit lost. It feels like they genuinely don't know/care about why they're spending money on this function, or maybe they are deliberately not being forthcoming as I am new.
So - tell me: are my expectations out of line for a startup? Is it weird for me as a new IP manager to ask things like "what's my budget", "what are your aspirations for my function", and "why are you spending money on IP"?
Are they likely to be mostly indifferent but doing it because investors are saying that they need patents?
Thanks in advance.