The driving force behind almost every startup is the novel idea or product with which it enters into the market. Putting this idea or product into practice correctly and securely is what transforms small startups into million-dollar corporations. For this reason, startups should have a well-protected Intellectual Property (IP) strategy, which acts as a significant aspect of their competitive advantage and attractiveness to consumers as well as investors. In this way, IP is an asset that can enhance the commercial value of your businesses, and Intellectual Property Protection is what secures the IP intended to grow your startup. Besides attracting investors, suppliers, consumers, and more, IP protection can put legal checks on your competition by preventing others from infringing on and profiting from your unique assets. So if you want to achieve success in today’s competitive market, it is crucial to obtain robust IP protection for your assets. The first thing that you should do in this regard is to be aware of the five vital components of Intellectual Property Law.
Five Significant Things about Intellectual Property Law
- Types of Intellectual Property Rights (IPRs)
In general, startups seek protection for their inventions, logos, software, and business names. Based on this, intellectual property for startups includes a wide range of IPRs like trademarks, patents, trade secrets, and copyrights. Each of these different types of rights applies to a specific class of assets. For instance, patents protect inventions and ideas, copyrights safeguard software and creative works, trademarks secure brand names, logos, and symbols that are capable of distinguishing one’s business from others. Trade secrets work when your company comes up with a ‘secret’ manufacturing approach that provides you a competitive advantage over your competitors.
- How to Sell Intellectual Property
Do you want to sell your startup? It is advisable to consult an experienced IP attorney as, nowadays, when many companies purchase startups based on their IP portfolios, it is common to face issues regarding the proper ownership of IP. Hence, to avoid glitches that may leave you with a comparatively lower valuation than what you deserve, emphasize signing any dotted line under the supervision of a skilled lawyer.
- How to Address Intellectual Property Agreements
If your startup’s intellectual property has been stolen, copied, modified, or used in any other manner without your permission, you can get monetary compensation depending on the severity of the infringement. In the present times, federal courts of every country have specific jurisdictions related to Copyright Infringement, Patent Protection, etc. That’s why if someone has stolen your IP and uses it for his benefits, be ready to deal with him legally. First of all, contact the offender through a cease and desist letter, which should address the following:
- What got infringed,
- The protections in place,
- The severity of the infringement,
- The remedial actions that unauthorized user should take,
- The legal actions that you expect if the infringer fails to comply.
- International Intellectual Property Protections
Nearly every country possesses different IP laws associated with How to Patent an Invention, Brand Name Registration, etc. For example, In China, the government emphasizes ‘first-to-file’ rule, i.e., it doesn’t care about who is the first creator of a product; instead, it focuses on who is the first to File a Trademark Application. Hence, before proceeding towards international markets, you should familiarize yourself with the unique trade secret, trademark, and Patent Laws in such countries. Having insight into the country-specific laws at the beginning of the process will help you in preventing the hike in expenses and complexity at the time of applying for an International Trademark, Patent, Copyright, and more.
- Legal Counsel
In today’s challenging era where businesses never hesitate to put obstacles in the path of one another’s success, there is an enormous need to enter into the marketplace with robust IP protection. Hiring a legal counsel having years of experience in this industry is one of the best ways to safeguard your IP. Apart from providing the beneficial guidelines regarding Application Processes, Patent Search, and more, a proficient IP attorney can help you in identifying ‘gray areas’ that may attract lawsuits, government investigations, etc. Assuredly, many startups find it expensive to hire legal representatives. If you are also not having sufficient money, then don’t worry as the advent of some programs to alleviate these expenses has made it easier to secure your IP with a limited budget.
Whether you are having an idea for a startup or already running one, getting your intellectual property protections in place is the foremost thing you should consider to lay the foundation of your future success. Nonetheless, as nearly every startup and even established businesses are running in the same race, it is imperative to stay ahead of others by being quick in regards to expanding nationally and internationally earlier rather than later. Don’t forget that the delay on your part can enable your competitors to push you behind them.
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