What Is Intellectual Property? 4 Reasons Why Every Entrepreneur Should Nurture It Right Now
Most of the startups consider intellectual property as a means to generate additional revenue and for branding purpose. But then the intellectual property is closely associated with the business esteem and also is an asset for the organization. Try integrating IP protection with the budgeting plan and also for marketing as it makes a quintessential business component.
Before understanding IP implications on business, let us understand what it includes.
Trademark: When you trademark your business you create a brand for your business that stays exclusive. It is used to differentiate your offered services/goods from that of the others (especially competitors). It also secures your brand from any possible counterfeit.
About Marks: You can register any mark like a slogan, shapes, wordmark, logo, hologram, etc. for a trademark. These all can play a vital role in defining a brand identity for your business.
Trademark Rights: Once you register the mark you own the exclusive right to use it and prevent others from using it which enables trademark protection. It is also possible to license the rights or to sell it for compensation.
Trademark Validity: The validity is for 10 years from the date of assignment. Trademark owner has the perpetual right if renewed every 10 years. The validity of the trademark is geographical, so if you have done trademark registration in India then it is only valid in India. If you look to leverage mark in other countries then the same should be registered in the desired country.
The author who creates the original work is assigned copyright protection by law. It is attributed to intellectual and creative work.
Copyright Works; Books, lectures, dramatic and musical works, drawings/paintings, or any such works of art.
Rights: Having copyright gives the owner the right to distribute copies of work to the public and even makes the transfer of rights (in exchange of monetary return) possible. Else, it is also possible to rent, lease or lend copyright to someone either in person or in another form as applicable.
Validity: It is not mandatory to register but is highly recommended. The validity of copyright lasts the lifetime of the author and even till the 60 years after his/her death. The owner is given protection in most countries.
With innovation taking the centre stage, startups tend to protect their invention through patent. Businesses can patent any original invention to help simplify people’s life.
Patent Condition: Any patent idea should be novel. Also, companies can patent industrial process by adding any non-obvious step to any existing mechanism.
Rights of Patent Holder: Enable the holder with an exclusive authority to own the patented invention. Also, that patent owner has the right to keep other parties at bay from exploiting their registered patent.
Patent Validity: Patent is valid for 20 years and later it goes in the public domain. Also, note that the patent has a territorial right (country-specific)
What Role These Intellectual Properties Play for your Business
A. Ease of Funding and Control
- Funding made easy
Startups hardly have anything big sized except their passion to perform and faith in its offerings. So investors generally look for the IP that any startup holds when it comes to its valuation. IP rights help investors and financers to get hold of the brand and more than 80% of such investors rely on IP portfolio.
- Take Control of your Rights
Do not consider someone else copying your branding element like colour, fonts, packaging etc. as things working out in your favour. They may be selling cheap quality products or offer services that are below your standards. Such things do irreversible damage to your brand. Intellectual property helps you take control of your rights over the brand identity.
B. Stay Vigilant of Other Businesses’ IPR
It is best to stay aware of what is happening in the IP space within and outside the industry you work in. This awareness is to avoid any possible IP infringement that may put your business in jeopardy. There is no law which forgives the ignorance so it is always better to stay vigilant. There are many cases when companies were caught unaware of other party using their trademark and resulting in a lawsuit. Such instances can be well taken as the trademark protection lessons coming from famous brands.
For example, in 2006 Google acquired YouTube while not aware of the intellectual property that the portal housed. To its dismay, Viacom Mediaset along with football’s English Premier League filed lawsuits against YouTube. This lawsuit was for the copyright violation. It was when Viacom claimed rights over 150,000 unauthorized clips that it owned and were out there YouTube. Google lost the case and had to pay to Viacom for such unauthorized use.
C. Develop an IP Portfolio
Aligning your business’ core competencies with the IP strategy to build a strong IP portfolio that has many rewards. Consider how Google holds all its patents in ‘counting, computing and calculating’ domain. This is how Google strategizes its innovation to seamlessly weave in its IP portfolio.
Google Example: Google owns the patent registration for everything in the computing space that enables detecting events that interest Goole w.r.t network traffic. This patent is registered with the ID US7970934B1. Also, this means it owns a patent to forecasts the traffic coming to its website for specific information about any event of interest like Floods, Forest Fire, Elections, etc. Unlike another search engine, it has control over user experience by efficiently managing their site traffic.
D. Launch Business with Single IPR
If you want your business to have a market edge and get started competitively getting trademark becomes imperative. It is the basic IP to start with and also safeguards your brand from the first go. Whatever IP you think can benefit your business, go ahead with it.
This means you can choose to register a patent in case you think you have an innovative process in place for manufacturing. It is true for most of the technology-driven startups. Again, those in the field of media and entertainment may opt to register copyrights rather than trademark or patents. So depending on the type of business, consider registering intellectual property when you launch. That marks some arrival in style as well.
One cannot undermine the importance of IPR is regardless of the business size. Big or small, Intellectual Property is an inevitable asset for business growth. Start with identifying what matters the most to your brand and go with IP registration as required. As mentioned, the investors are always pleased to have IP in place while founders can always reap its benefits in terms of generating additional revenue.
About The Author
Shrijay is an entrepreneur with excellent business acumen. With a decade-long experience of working with some of the most disruptive eCommerce startups across the globe, Shrijay believes in team building, customer service, and execution to be the most critical processes for building a sustainable business. He currently leads a LegalTech company: LegalWiz.in, which helps Startups and SMEs in India to easily comply with the law.
LegalWiz.in offers services for company registration, trademark registration, legal document drafting, GST return filing, and more. LegalWiz.in makes it simple, affordable and transparent for small businesses to avail business professional services.