What NOT to do with your Intellectual Property

1. Do NOT focus on just a single form of IPR protection: A lot of companies – particularly tech-focused firms – tend to focus on a single form of intellectual property rights (IPR) protection, by exclusively applying for patent protection, for example. This limits the scope of IPR protection that the company could potentially benefit from. For example, a software development company could apply for copyright protection for code, a design patent protection for software GUI, and so on.

2. Do NOT settle for a static IP portfolio: Upcoming companies might apply for IPR protection at one stage and then just settle for it. Typically, business owners and managers trademark a company’s name and apply for patent protection only as they form their company. This is a fundamental mistake. A dynamic portfolio is critical when a management team wishes to enter new geographies, expand into related markets, raise funds or sell the company.

3. Do NOT ignore the market when seeking IPR protection: Before applying for some forms of IPR protection such as patents, companies might perform a piece of market research or undertake a freedom-to-operate search (FTO) to identify potential of the IPR protection sought after and/or a likelihood of successfully obtaining the protection. While this is essential to conduct an FTO search at the point of applying for a patent, analysis of the market and competitors should only take place at this point. Instead, searches should be conducted on a regular basis.

4. Do NOT forget about the historical portfolio: While your current and the developing portfolio of IPR protection sought for is absolutely essential, the historical portfolio of the company can provide valuable insights. For example, past success in obtaining IPR protection for one form of IP can indicate that the company’s portfolio can be expanded along the same direction. Any company should not, therefore, forget about the historical portfolio that could include valuable expired and abandoned patents.

5. Do NOT underestimate a well-planned IPR protection strategy: Some companies may apply for IPR protection merely as a formality i.e. by trademarking the company name, applying for patent protection that are essential for development of products, etc. But a well-planned IPR protection strategy could not only prevent unforeseen losses to the company in the long-term but can also provide economic benefits.

Are you getting started with your intellectual property? Read our Ultimate Guide to IP.

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