Best Intellectual Property Strategies For Startups

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Are you a startup that’s working on a new technology or product? Here's what you need to know about intellectual property strategies:

When you are working hard to develop and launch a new product or technology, one of the first things that you should prepare is filing for intellectual property protection. This is an important aspect of your business that you should not overlook or else you will find yourself at the losing end.

If you invest a lot of time, money and effort on something that you are hoping to break the market, applying for a patent should be at the forefront among many other things. Our friends at Find My Workspace have compilled a list of things that you should do to ensure that you protect your invention and make sure that you take credit for its success in the end.

#1 Be Clear & Identify Roles & Relationships Between Co-Founders

Just to avoid any issues in the future, it is best to be clear and draw the boundaries of the roles and responsibilities of each founder in the startup. Start with identifying financial aspects such as who owns how much of the company, how much salary (if applicable) should each one receive, and what contributions did each one bring into the company. The next thing to clarify is how much commitment is expected from each one, who will be the key decision-maker, and what if one of the founders underperform or do not live up to the expectations of the company. Finally, decide if the company owns the intellectual property and what it would do to develop the technology or product that was purposefully developed for it.

While in the development stage, make sure to note who thought of what. Keep records of which ideas belong to whom so that in the event that one of the founders leave, you can be clear about these things. It is cheaper to settle these things at the onset than to wait for things to get complicated when you’ve already filed for intellectual property rights.

#2 Act Swiftly But Quietly When Filing For A Patent

Filing patents in Europe follows the first-to-file system, which simplifies the process as it eliminates the need for the applicant to provide proof that he was the first to conceive the product or invention. It also prevents costly interference hearings. However, this system results in mediocre attempts to conceive new ideas and invent, as it is often reduced to simply being a race to be the first to file the patent.

Under this system, it is best to quietly file before you make a big show of having come up with a novel invention, otherwise, you could be beaten by a competitor.

#3 File For Patent Protection For Every Feature That You Add To Your Product Or Technology

With intellectual property, it’s all or nothing. Even if you filed for a patent at the start but the product has greatly evolved and has turned into a completely different thing than what you first filed for, it becomes unprotected. Avoid being in this situation by updating your patent application every time you add something new to your product. It is also a good way for your company to keep tabs at who owns what.

#4 Move Forward With Your Work Even If The Patent Is Not Yet Issued To You

Processing of patent applications take time, so don’t let it stall or hold you back. On average, most patents take more than two years, so just continue with the next stages of development whether it is adding more features or commercializing your product. Patents will make you more credible and will definitely attract investors, but time is of the essence in business.

Don’t think that obtaining a patent is a guarantee that you’ve made a good invention. Patents are issued to new inventions, but new doesn’t necessarily mean relevant or attractive. Don’t put all your hopes up on the patent. Work on the other aspects of your startups such as strengthening your brand and protecting it with trademarks. You should also look at things that looking for copyright protection for your intellectual property. It is always best to talk to a lawyer who specializes in intellectual property so that you and your business will be thoroughly protected.



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