Every company, predominantly start-ups, wants a competitive advantage. Intellectual property (IP) rights and knowing how to leverage them may give your brand a more prosperous future than other companies.
As start-ups are often eager to impress potential investors or an audience when speaking at public events, they may disclose their copyrights, trademarks, trade secrets and other IP. However, this can potentially be extremely detrimental for companies.
Here at SnapDragon, we know how important it is to protect your IP before disclosing it to the public. Here are some of the reasons why you should protect, manage and enforce your IP rights for the best commercial results:
It helps protect valuable elements
Registering copyrights is important because it protects original works. These may come in various forms such including programmes, musical compositions, photography and literature. While copyright protection does not cover the procedures, concepts or underlying ideas, registering copyrights can help protect your company against competitors who produce counterfeits.
Here at SnapDragon, we are passionate about protecting your original ideas! We have recently launched Swoop which is the world’s first publicly available automated brand monitoring platform. Swoop detects counterfeit and copycat products on the world’s busiest online platforms including eBay, Amazon and Alibaba. You can learn more about Swoop here.
Disclosing could impact IP rights around the world
As a result of globalisation, the decision of where to protect IP assets before disclosing them publicly can prevent your company from losing valuable rights. Patent and trademark protections are mainly enforced and based in the country that the patent or trademark was issued.
Many countries require absolute novelty to obtain patent protection. This means that it’s crucial for a business to file a patent application before publicly disclosing your potentially patentable invention. If you do not file for the patent before disclosing your invention, it may prevent your invention from being patentable in some countries.
Avoid conflict and name changes
The companies brand is important as it helps when building a reputation with both the public and customers. As brand recognition and reputation does not occur overnight, your company may decide to register for a domain name or file for a trademark. If your company does these in the initial development stages, it is easier to prevent contentious territorial and property disputes. These usually occur when different people unknowingly use the same name. Registering or filing early will save valuable time and money as your company will not have to change its name or the name of its products if a conflicting trademark or domain name exists.
IP assets help attract investors
In any IP strategy, it is important to consider factors such as domain names, patents, copyrights, trade secrets, trademarks and ownership of IP rights. This is because investors will examine your company and IP portfolio to assess its strengths and weaknesses before deciding if your company is a worthy investment. IP protection is appealing to investors because it can create barriers that will prevent competitors from copying your company’s business strategy.
Diligently establishing ownership records helps prevent future battles
As initial ownership of IP generally begins with the investors or creators of the IP, your company should clearly establish ownership of the IP prior to any disclosures. However, your company does not necessarily own the IP even if your company has paid someone to develop it. Therefore, you should ensure that your company has a clear record of the IP ownership as this will avoid ownership disputes in court.
You can protect your IP while you perfect your product
Before any public disclosures, your company should identify its IP assets and decide what IP they would like to add to its portfolio. However, particularly in the start-up stage, your company may not be able to afford the costs and fees associated with filing for patents. Additionally, there may still be scope to improve or refine the details of the invention.
In this instance, it’s possible to apply for a provisional patent to preserve your IP in the interim. More inexpensive than full patents, they allow you 12 months to continue before applying for a non-provisional patent.
The assets in an IP portfolio can be a crucial part of your company’s business strategy and be a key consideration when potential investors evaluate your company. Therefore, all companies, particularly start-ups, should adequately protect any IP before there are any public disclosures.
We use IP rights to defend your brand on e-commerce platforms across the world! If you want to take matters into your own hands, try your free trial of Swoop now.