For some startups intellectual property is their main and the most valuable asset, and therefore it is extremely important to take care of their IP.
Here are the 3 key things to think about to ensure you properly protect your IP and safeguard the value of your business:
1. Identify what IP you have and what you need to do protect it
There are several types of intellectual property rights:
· Design rights (registered and unregistered)
The first step would therefore be to identify every possible IP asset you have and what needs to be done to protect it. Some types of intellectual property are protected automatically (such as copyright and unregistered design rights), whilst other types of IP require registration (such as trade marks, registered designs and patents).
2. Make sure you actually own your IP
You need to make sure you own or have a right to use all IP assets that are relevant to your business.
As a general rule, the IP created by the employees is owned by the employer (subject to certain exceptions). But if you hire a freelancer to create IP (for example, to design a logo), you should ensure that there is a written assignment in place transferring IP rights to your company. Otherwise the freelancer will retain the IP rights, even though you paid them for their work. Also, if you as a founder or a director of your company create any IP works, you might also need to assign (or licence) these to the company.
3. Develop an IP strategy
It could be very expensive to obtain patens, register trade marks and designs all over the world, so once you’ve identified what IP assets you have – consult with an IP professional, who will help you create and implement a cost-effective and commercially sensible IP strategy.
Briffa lawyers are experts in all aspects of contentious and non-contentious intellectual property law and practice. If you are starting a business and would like to discuss what IP assets you might have and how to go about protecting them, please drop us an email or give us a call and we will be happy to arrange a free consultation with one of our specialist IP lawyers.
Written by Anastasia Troshkova, Solicitor