As a business owner would you not love to find that in your business you have some assets below the surface that are extremely valuable often under used but left unprotected by their owners. Well there you have it; most businesses I work with initially do not understand that they have these assets, how critical they are to the business and how its value can greatly add to the value of their business. These assets are their Intellectual Property or IP for short
I strongly recommend that some immediate steps you need to take including:
- Carry out an IP audit to identify and record your existing rights and consider their value today and in the future.
- Create a system to identify and capture innovation at its earliest stage, and therefor build an IP strategy into your business plan.
- Do not infringe the rights of others, either deliberately of by accident as it will cost you time and money.
- Consider how to protect the business’ IP rights ownership, especially IP created by employees, joint ventures and suppliers.
- Do not waste any time or money on developing or protecting IP that little of no value to your business today and in the future.
So what are the different types of IP? There are 4 types of intellectual property rights, namely trade secrets, trademarks, copyrights and patents.
A “trade secret” is any valuable information that is not publicly known and of which the owner has taken “reasonable” steps to maintain secrecy. These include information, such as business plans, customer lists, ideas related to your research and development cycle, etc. Unlike some other types of IP, trade secrets are not registered with a governmental body.
Trademarks protect brands. A trademark is anything by which customers can identify a product or the source of a product, such as a name associated with the product. Simply put this would be the words that you use to refer to your product or service. To protect your trademark, you should conduct a search to find out if others are using a similar mark to yours. If not, then file a trademark application to get your trademark registered.
Most products have a copyright i.e. the images and words on the product packaging, the label, the product itself and webpages can all be protected with a copyright. The advantages of a copyright registration are that it is inexpensive to secure
For patents there are essentially 2 types that can be obtained, namely ‘Utility’ (function) and ‘Design’ (aesthetic). Sometimes, you will explain your product by using words that describe both function and aesthetics. In that case, you may be able to get both types of patents. However, if funds are limited, you may have to choose one of the two types of patents that is better suited for your invention.
Yes it seems a complex area and if not done properly it can be expensively. But if you do not know about the hidden IP in your business you are grossly under estimating the value of your work and your business. If you need more information or have any queries please feel free to contact us with the details below or fill out our enquiry form or call now for a free confidential consultation on +44 (0) 203 6374212 or call or email directly our details are here
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