Increasing attention is being paid to IP rights around the world and across many different industries. Among all the conversation, however, many smaller businesses are keen to really understand the value of protecting their IP.
The different IP rights available to businesses bestow different benefits to their owners.
Registered trade marks protect signs that distinguish your goods or services from those of your competitors. They allow you to stop others from using your mark(s) for specific goods or services in a specific territory.
Registered designs protect the appearance of the whole or part of a product. They allow you to stop others from making, importing or offering any product featuring that protected design, whether or not copied.
Patents protect inventions. They enable you to stop others from making, importing or offering your invention, whether or not copied, in a specific territory.
Copyrights protect original works, such as images, website content, promotional materials, movies, sound recordings, art and books. They enable you to stop others from using or distributing copies of your original works.
And there are more: utility models, plant breeders’ rights, plant varieties rights,...
Whatever industry you are in, registering a trade mark for your business name, logo and other brand assets is an essential step to establishing your business. With the right to take action against anyone that uses your trade mark without your permission, you can make sure that no-one takes unfair advantage of your brand and that no-one encroaches on your branding, leading to possible dilution of its value to you. Working with an advisor that understands what genuinely creates brand value and is worth protecting is central to successful and valuable protection.
Any business with products or services – whether internal or part of the external product offering – that have been developed through research and development should consider patent protection. The revenue streams that come from key products should be protected and by investing in patent protection, you can prevent others from taking advantage of the time and money that has gone into that research and development and potentially diluting your revenues.
Every business should have their eye on the competition or potential competition, not just in their home market, but further afield as well. While patents do not guarantee you the right to manufacture and sell your product, they do allow you to exclude others from doing so. Identifying what is worth protecting from a commercial point of view is central to getting value out of any IP protection.
The credibility conferred by IP rights like patents and trade marks is of particular importance to small businesses when they look for funding. Investors often view unprotected assets as a risk. A portfolio of IP rights can give leverage to its owner in any potential transaction.
At Marks & Clerk, not only are our patent and trade mark attorneys experts in securing the very best IP protection for your innovation and creative effort, but they understand how IP protection fits into the business model of a small business and how it can be best leveraged. Many have experience in industry themselves.