Joshua Julien Brouard
27 July 2023 • 5 min read
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You might have many apprehensions about creating your own IP strategy. It could be just a sense of uncertainty about how to get started. Or perhaps you're worried about the fees involved and how long it might take. Whatever your concern, I've got you covered.
In this article, I'm going to explore these questions and more. But to start, let's take a look at the idea of IP law in a bit more detail:
Protection of your IP assets is an often neglected aspect of business. For smaller businesses especially, it often becomes nothing more than an afterthought (unlike a corporate patent strategy, which is incredibly extensive).
And this is a problem.
Sometimes, someone will start a business, create a name, logo, and the rest of it. They'll continue to run their business, seemingly safely, with this identity. Sound familiar?
Well, when someone does this, and then later decides that they want to market themselves better, and then get on social media, perhaps even develop a website, only to discover that there's another business with the exact name as them.
What's worse is that this business has been running for longer than they have. So, now they've got to rebrand or risk being slammed with a copyright infringement suit.
Aside from preventing situations like this, Appareify co-founder Nora Salama, had this to say about the misconceptions business owners have about IP rights:
“When it comes to IP rights, many entrepreneurs and business owners are under the false misconception that it is too expensive, complex, or unnecessary because only big corporations with major competitors are in need of patents.
However, the purpose of creating an IP strategy goes beyond just trying to prevent copycats.
It also does an effective job of making any growing enterprise look more appealing to potential investors.
After all, it can help to better clarify and lock in the value of what makes your business so unique and in doing so, it provides investors and partners with something more tangible to put their money into rather than just a good idea.”
In a nutshell, intellectual property law protects your business.
Like we’ve mentioned before, IP law protects trademarks. This can be names, slogans, and even logos.
It also encompasses copyright protection for any literary, musical, or other artistic works your business may produce.
Think of your outro to your Facebook videos, a brochure you use for your business or even a speech you made at a conference. That can all be copyright protected.
And consider any inventions you may come up with. Those, too, can be protected with a patent.
Now that we’ve gone over this, let’s look at how you can create your IP plan.
Creating an intellectual property (IP) strategy requires more than good intentions and a willing wallet. You should take some steps if you're seriously considering developing a good strategy.
Let's get started with your IP strategy checklist:
First thing first: determine where your business currently stands regarding intellectual property; this means:
Next, decide what protection you may need for your IP assets. As a large organization, you may need more security than a smaller business. You'll also want to create a defense plan should someone infringe on your pre-existing IP assets.
But what if you're the one infringing? That brings me to my next point.
There's a good chance that any intellectual property protection that you think has been afforded to you through use in the common law is void because you're infringing on someone else's intellectual property.
That's why it's so important to do your own research, such as by conducting trademark searches. These can ensure that your IP is your own and can set you on a path to getting a federally registered trademark and enjoying the many benefits of that.
That said, if you're considering registering new intellectual property assets, it's also a good idea to analyze whether you'd benefit from it. This includes looking at the following:
Once you've done your homework, you're now ready for the exam. Yes, there will be questions. But (thankfully) you’re allowed to use notes. It's time to get registered and get started with your comprehensive IP strategy.
While you can do this on your own, we suggest contacting an intellectual property attorney who can help you avoid problems along the way and ensure that you correctly complete the applications correctly, such as selecting the most relevant classes for a trademark application.
An essential part of any business strategy is getting proper IP protection. I hope that I've been able to help you realize this. While the degree of protection required varies from business to business, any IP protection strategy will ultimately serve any business well in the future.
IP strategy development involves first evaluating your business. This means considering (a) the size of your business, (b) your business intentions, and (c) your current IP assets. After this, evaluate your competitors to determine if you're unwittingly infringing on their intellectual property.
Here’s an intellectual property strategy example. Consider Dave, a food scientist. He has created a new way to develop imitation foods using healthy ingredients. He wishes to start a business but knows that his invention is at risk of being stolen.
Dave decides that a good strategy would be to get a patent. He contacts an IP attorney to help him (contacting an attorney is a great patent strategy for startups, by the way).
He also realizes that a business like his would benefit from trademark protection, so he starts the process by doing a trademark search. Dave knows why he needs IP protection, and has a plan of action to get it. This is a good basic example of the start of a strategy. Although he’d still need to conduct a competitor analysis.
An IP strategy is a business's decision to manage its intangible assets. This’ll involve the initial trademark and patent searches, IP registration, active pursuit of IP infringement, in-house confidentiality measures, and anything relevant to your industry (such as labeling products).
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Joshua Julien Brouard
Joshua J. Brouard brings a rich and varied background to his writing endeavors. With a bachelor of commerce degree and a major in law, he possesses an affinity for tackling business-related challenges. His first writing position at a startup proved instrumental in cultivating his robust business acumen, given his integral role in steering the company's expansion. Complementing this is his extensive track record of producing content across diverse domains for various digital marketing agencies.
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