How a Start-Up can manage its Intellectual Property and how significant it is to manage the IP for a startup?
Imagine as a part of your startup, you just have created an awe-inspiring water bottle by investing a parcel of money, time and efforts with a vision to sell it in the market and to earn a great amount of money. But one day while roaming in the market, you find a bottle with the same design you have invented but a different label of company name on it, what would you do? Of course, it is dismaying feeling to see that someone else is making money on your idea. To keep your startup away from ‘bandits’, before starting a startup, you need to take a look at how your Idea, design, product, literacy and artist work can keep safe in this digital world.
What is Intellectual Property (IP)?
Intellectual property (IP) has a direct coupling with the creation of mind which refers to the ideas, product and services people have in their mind or in physical form. In any industry, specifically, in the software industry where most of the innovation nowadays are happening, IP plays a significant role for a company. By putting the restriction on your rivals to use any innovation you have done, you can acquire a unique recognition and financial benefits. To do so, IP tools are there to save your intellectual property.
How to protect your Intellectual property? What are the IP tools?
Suppose you acquire a land. But to prove the ownership, you have to choose a government approved legal way to get the ownership. Once you get legal authority from the government, no one can challenge your ownership. Same thing happens with your intellectual property. You have to legalized your Idea, product, design and literacy things. Patent, Trademark, and copyright are the main three government norms under which you can protect your Intellectual property. These three norms are called IP tools.
- Types of patent
Government has introduced three types of patents, because ideas and products are different. Investor or business owner can register their Idea or product according the category in which their ideas and product fall.
A utility patent: This is the patent which is granted for new machines, chemicals and processes.
Design patent : This is the patent which is granted for design of the physical product.
Plant patent: If you have created new plant varieties by using Hybridization, then you should register your invention with plant patent.
- Who gives patent
In order to get patent for your intellectual property, you need to ask the government by submitting a patent application form. This cannot come in terms of ‘International protection’. Your registered patent in one particular country doesn’t protect your intellectual property internationally.
- Patentable properties
According to the data coming out from the United States patent and trademark office, almost 40% patent application is rejected.
Your innovation must have eligibility to stand alongside of the patentable property of the respective country. Not all innovation means to be patentable.
If your invention is breaking the law of the government, or it is injurious to public health, then your invention falls under non-patentable invention category. Scientific theories, mathematical methods and medical procedures are also not meant to be get patented.
- Age of patent
Generally, an approved patent lasts for 20 years from the date it is filed. After that time, one should have to renew it.
- What is trademark?
Unlike Patent, Trademark is there to protect your companies sign, design or the expression. In this digital world, where people knows companies from its logo and colors, rather than name, the trademark is becoming a big player.
- How to get trademark?
Getting a trademark is the same task as getting patent. You can apply for a trademark online at the government trademark office. But for international level, you have to apply for a trademark at each countries trademark office where you want to keep your IP safe.
- What are the Intellectual property of yours can get trademark?
Generally, assets you can protect your IP through trademark are your companies and service’s name including words and numbers, logo of it, colors which is used in logo. You can even get protection on non-visible objects like sounds and fragrances.
- Age of trademark
The term of a trademark generally lasts for 10 years.
- What is copyright ?
Copyright is legal right on literacy and artistic work includes software, poetry, music lyrics, novel, and graphics of any artist and author.
- How long does copyright last on IP?
Unlike trademark and patent, copyright has long age. It lasts for 70 years and plus 70 years after the death of author.
- Where to get copyright?
You don’t have to register your work at any office in the case of copyright. As soon as you create a unique work, it automatically falls under the law of copyright. Additionally, your work is protected internationally.
Some statistic to know the gravity
As our world is entering deeper in the 21st century, a lot of invention is peeping out. But unfortunately, the threat of that inventions to be stolen also remains high. Thus, not only big companies but small companies are also showing their interest in managing their intellectual property.
From the following graph, you can clearly see the magnification global intellectual property application get in recent time.
If we talk about Asia, it is the region which has filled most number of IP forms.
Talking about top companies which is holding highest amount of the patent, here is the list of top companies with the detail of patent it receive in 2018.
What are the benefits of Intellectual property management for your startup?
1. Of course, the ownership!
After launching a product under a startup company, if after some years someone makes the replica of it and you don’t have any legal document to prove your ownership, how great lose it will happen with your startup business. I am making this point because it is very common now a day to steal someone’s idea and make money from it. If your idea or product is secured under the IP tools, then you will have a strong back in the case of infringement.
2. It will help you to make a brand value of your business
As it is very obvious that nowadays competitors are coming under the same roof, making the space for the market very small, it is a pivotal need for your business to stand out. With unique name, logo, and colors you can develop a totally different image in your customer’s mind which eventually results in more brand value for your business.
3. As a startup, don’t stick with only few ways of earning
While your company is in its initial phase, the prime objective does it have is to build a customer group. So to make as more number of customer group, it is always advise for startup to thing legally! By getting patent of your idea and product, doors of more earning ways and more public engagement are opened. You can sell product globally and be a small in export business. You can also seek franchise agreement once your IP is secured. This will automatically, add revenue in your pocket.
4. Because investors invest on secured ideas!
To make a big organization from a small startup, you are highly rely on investors. You will easily make a entry in investor’s list if your idea or product is secured under IP tools as it will give idea to investors about the rareness and originality.
Things to consider while applying for patent and trademark
- Make sure you are are clear about whether your idea, product and services hold legal rights to get stamp of patent and trademark on.
- It is very complicated process. So always play safe and hire a lawyer
- Don’t declare all secret of your invention or business in application form
- Keep secrets away from your staff too
- Be ready with the explanation, your application will rejected first time
So, after knowing the ways to protect your intellectual property and what are the benefit you will get by doing so, don’t think twice to protect your ideas and innovation under IP tools and get as much as rewards from it to grow your startup from a small company to big organization.
Vishal Virani is a Founder and CEO of Coruscate Solutions, a mobile app development company. He enjoys writing about technology, mobile apps, custom web development and latest industry trends.