Legal and Intellectual Property
For any business big or small protecting its intellectual and legal rights is imperative to survive in this era of continuous discovery, invention, and innovation. Not safeguarding your intellectual property can deprive you of its profits and more dangerously in some situations of its ownership too.
First of all, let’s define an intellectual property.
According to World Intellectual property Organization (WIPO) Intellectual property means creations and inventions of mind. For instance, artistic, and literary works. It also includes logos, images, names, and symbols, being used in commerce.
There are two types of intellectual property: Copyright and Industrial property. Copyrights includes plays, dramas, novels, and other literary work. While music, films, drawings, paintings, photographs and other artistic works too. In industrial property we have patents, industrial designs, and geographical indications.
A guide to some of the terms related IP Rights are given below.
- A patent is on the name of inventor or owner to prevent others from copying his invention for personal or monetary gains. However, it is published for public to get benefits as a collective society for boosting further innovations in the community.
- Design is also protected which includes color theme, template, pattern and other distinctive features of a product.
- Trademark is related to identity link that a brand or product establishes with the customer. This includes from logos to even packaging of a certain product.
- Trade secret is concerned with information a company protects and owns due to its commercial value. It means if a person outside of company uses it he/she may benefit from it financially. Things like survey results, computer algorithms, and food recipes are included in this category.
Another term used in this context is confidential information. It encompasses knowledge and information that you may have gathered and of value to your company related to core ideas, business plans, customer information, deigns of product, and other methods involve in delivering a product.
Intellectual property rights are protected by article 27 of Universal Declaration of Human Rights which renders authors and creators of any scientific, artistic, and literary work to get benefited from their works including its moral and material profits.
Understanding the significance IP rights is crucial for startups. It allows them to not only benefit from their creations, but it also keeps your competitions on legal radar, and thus saving you from infringement on your property and preventing others from illegally profiting from your works. Generally, for startups their logos, brand names, images, and software’s are needed to be included in copyrights act.
Reasons or Excuses:
Startups which do not engage in IP rights often cited reasons like expensiveness of registration process with International bodies as they are in developmental stage and could not bear extra financial burden. Another reason is they can not pool a lot of resources into these laws because a lot of other things are also demanding a large amount of money. One of their favorite reasons is that our lawyers will take care of it when we grow considerably in market and profits over the period of time.
All these reasons can be mere excuses if you really want to protect your business idea and trade mark secret on legal grounds.
Some of the compelling reasons to protect your intellectual and legal rights are given below.
- Getting Investor’s attention: When investors know the security system of your property is up-to-date and is protected legally. There are high chances they would probably, more likely to invest in your company. It enhances trust on you and your business.
- Protection against litigations: What if you didn’t know about IP laws and you accidently copied someone else‘s idea and started profiting from it. Your protection against litigation would be frail and it can cost you millions. May be it’s your idea originally but the person who files it first can snatch it from you officially. And you won’t have a very strong case in this situation.
- Powerful deterrence against illegal use: When you get your company or website registered. It’s a strong message to the world out there that your property is legally protected. Nobody would knowingly or deliberately try to get benefited from your efforts or belongings like logo, names, and content. Fear of heavy fines and imprisonment will keep them at bay.
- Controlling economic growth: In the early development days, when you are not protecting your special products, services or ideas from competitors that would put your business in high risk zone. They can manipulate your product and thus took away the market share that is rightfully yours. And without legal authority on your side beating those people on economic scale and in legal arena would be really challenging and hard.
- Encouragement of innovation: Despite IR right’s many advantages for economic growth and well-being of a company. There is a significant point of innovation which can motivate you to consider Intellectual property rights seriously. To keep the innovation industry growing tremendously, you need to get your property register with IP rights authorities. This registration will also help future innovators to get facilitated by your research which would help upcoming innovators to stay busy creating and innovating.
Strategy for IP:
You can keep these few points in mind while crafting a strategy for your product.
- Try filing ASAP: If you believe your idea is original and other can benefit from it for personal glory or monetary returns. You should file for copyrights or some other Intellectual property right banner for saving yourself from later disappointment and angst.
- Don’t wait until issued: you don’t need to stop your work until you are being issued patent for your invention. Patents take sometimes years. Waiting that long would not be beneficial for your business and creative energy.
- Founder agreement: Make sure to formal agreements and contracts between different founders involve in the process from future worries. And that would be part of confidentially paper.
- Consult professionals: If you are lost and don’t have time for delving in these legalities, hire professional. Yes, investors would be interested in your company mostly after patents, and copyrights formalities are completed. Meanwhile, you have time to further improve your product.
- Look for domain too: If you have really creative web design that may be one of the reasons user visit your website. Focus in this domain of registration too.
- Consider foreign registration: If your growth rate is getting speed beyond expectations and you may want to provide services in some other country. Apply for some foreign registration as recommended by legal firm.
Be proactive in getting your ideas, works, and brand related things registration. It’s not for those who can look head of the present situations and can contemplate future benefits for their business. Greatest advantage is investors can be convinced more persuasively then.