When is the best time to invest in IP?

Written by William Miles | January 30, 2023

Intellectual Property

Whether you’re starting a new business, or if you have been going for some time, you’re always going to have a long list of things to invest in. New hardware, better software, additional marketing, or new hires? But where does IP investment sit in this list? 

Intellectual property often represents 80% of the value of a creative business however it rarely enjoys that proportion of investment. Instead, all too often IP is only considered when it’s too late, for example when your brand name has already been registered by someone else in a key foreign jurisdiction (or, worse still, your own jurisdiction), or when your close competitor has decided to emulate your website or packaging without permission.  

A large number of our new enquires at Briffa can be split into two distinct categories, the first is proactive: “I’m setting up X and I need to secure the IP now”. The second is reactive: “I’ve been going for X years with minimal protections in place and now my work is being copied”.  

Fortunately, we can help in both scenarios but the proactive solutions almost always offer greater protection at a far lower cost. Whereas the reactive solutions are more expensive and higher risk.  

Registering a particular brand name before anyone else is relatively straightforward, we can draft and file the application, it’s then just a case of watching it sail through the examination and publication stages. However, trying to register a trade mark which is extremely similar to what’s already on the register can be highly contentious, and an opposition is likely to be raised with the chances of finding satisfactory co-existence terms looking very slim. Worse still, still trying to register an identical mark in relation to identical goods/service is likely to be almost impossible, and at that stage your only real hope is that the earlier registration is vulnerable in some way (e.g. on the basis of non-use or as a result of earlier unregistered rights).  

This then answers my original question; taking a proactive approach to IP protection will pay dividends (literally), it will reduce the stress of dealing with infringers and, ultimately, it will increase the value of your business.  

If you want to discuss the next steps for your IP why not email info@briffa.com to book a free consultation with one of our solicitors. 

Written by Will Miles – Partner

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