If you haven’t already considered what New Year’s resolutions you should be planning and adhering to, we have a suggestion to make. Please remember to consider Intellectual Property (IP) at the start of a project. Don’t leave it until you have already made substantial progress, only to discover that there is a problem with the IP.
Protect your IP in the same way as you would any of your other business assets.
You can protect the following IP rights:
- the branding of your goods / services using a registered trade mark;
- the way your product looks using a registered design;
- how the technology works using a patent; and
- any literature or artistic work automatically using copyright.
At a minimum, at the start of a project you should record what is proposed, what problem you are trying to solve and who the inventor is. It is also worth making a list of published documents you are aware of which solve the same problem in a less effective way.
As well as making sure that you protect your own IP, you should also ensure that you do not infringe anyone else’s rights. If you want to use someone else’s IP you may be able to negotiate and come to an agreement, for example buying or licensing the relevant IP.
Be prepared to make your IP work for you. Remember that you could profit by selling or licensing your IP as well as producing a product or providing a service yourself. The better you protect your IP, the easier it tends to be to enforce it.