Intellectual Property Strategy: Does Your Business Need One?

IPGrow your business by protecting your intellectual property.

Starting a business from the ground up requires a lot of work. It entails finding the capital you need to start your business, hiring qualified workers, developing a viable business and marketing plan, and implementing an effective sales strategy. It also requires you to comply with all the applicable laws and undertake the necessary steps to protect your business assets, including your intellectual property.

The Importance of Protecting Your Intellectual Property
Intellectual property (IP) refers to the collection of ideas and concepts, and may include inventions, creative and literary works, and the names, designs and tag lines used in business. While these things may be intangible in nature, they are considered to be one of the most important assets of any business.

There are three ways to protect your IP rights. You can secure a patent (for a specific product design, process, method or invention), a trademark (applies to distinctive names, phrases or symbols used to represent a business or a specific product), or a copyright (for creative and literary works, computer programs and websites).

So, how does your business benefit from having an intellectual property strategy? Here?s how.

It provides insurance. By securing your IP rights, you can use your company?s intellectual property to grow your business without worrying that you will encounter any legal problems later on. It can also protect your intellectual property against infringement which may result in lost customers, sales, or business, and give you the right to pursue infringers for any damages and lost income.

It can be a great source of income. Protecting your intellectual property gives you the opportunity to earn royalty income from licensing.

Tips in Developing an IP Strategy

  • Consider the company size. While a company with only a handful of employees do not need a formal IP strategy, larger companies will greatly benefit from having one.
  • Establish guidelines. For starters, you need to make a list of all the people involved in the creation of the product and the type of protection you require. You also need to make sure that you are not infringing on other company?s intellectual property.
  • Analyze the pros and cons. Do your research to see if developing your IP would give you a competitive advantage in the marketplace. Try to learn if there any barriers to entry and how you can possibly overcome them.

Securing your intellectual property rights guarantees that your company?s inventions and creative works would be protected against unauthorized use. Unfortunately, many small business owners tend to ignore the topic until it is too late. Don?t commit the same mistake if you want your business to grow and flourish.