Intellectual property (or “IP”) can be a complicated area.
As a start-up you already have a huge number of things to think about: funding, marketing, building a client base, collaboration, finding the right people to assist you.
IP is often just seen as another thing to add to the list, but we understand that it’s not always the simplest area to understand. That said, all businesses will own, use and create IP at some stage and this IP can be used to grow your business and ultimately increase profitability. IP is not just for creative business.
These IP rights can be broad ranging and serve different purposes. In other words, different IP rights protect different areas of your business. All of these rights together constitute the IP assets within your business, and these assets are valuable.
IP is an umbrella term for a number of different types of rights including copyright, trade marks, design rights and patents. ‘IP’ is not a right in and of itself.
Different IP rights arise at different times and the manner in which they are protected differs from right to right. Some rights will only arise through registration and must be protected within a certain period of time of creation, or (for example, with patents) must be kept entirely confidential prior to filing for registration.
Other IP rights (such as copyright or unregistered design right) are unregistered and arise automatically on creation of a particular piece of work, but you must also consider procuring evidence of how and when such rights arose as this will be important when it comes to enforcing your rights.
So what IP rights are in your business?
The easiest way to answer this question is for you to come and see us or speak with us over the phone. Our lawyers are experts at quickly identifying the relevant IP rights in your business and advising on the most appropriate steps necessary to ensure that those rights are protected and are commercialised as well as they could be.
That said, there are also a huge number of resources online which may also give you a basic understanding of your needs and requirements. You may also find it helpful to have some understanding of IP rights before seeking further advice from professionals.
The UK Intellectual Property Office recently released its ‘IP Basics’ article which can be found here. The article provides a clear overview of the key IP rights and the things you should be thinking about if you wish to protect your rights further.
After reading, perhaps there are more IP rights in your business than you originally though.
We see IP rights as an opportunity to differentiate yourself from your competitors and to commercialise those rights as a means of increasing profitability. Many businesses don’t seize this opportunity and sometimes lose the ability to commercialise those rights by not protecting or enforcing them in the correct way.
If you are interested to know more about exploiting your IP in feel free to contact one of our experts for further information.