Key takeaways if you want to protect your IP and not infringe anyone else’s
Go multilingual to protect your startup
Carry out regular online searches for your product and service to make sure it is not being copied. And don’t just search in English. Use online translation services to convert your brand name and key marketing copy into lots of languages to detect if it is appearing in overseas markets. This is particularly important if you have a physical product.
Read this article from Rachel Jones, founder of Snapdragon, who learned how to stop the fakers the hard way.
Don’t forget to use non-disclosure agreements (NDAs) and cybersecurity to secure your intellectual property
Patents and trademarks can be vital to protect your startup’s IP, but stopping valuable information getting outside the business is also vital. That may mean NDAs with staff and suppliers, as well as ensuring your systems are secure from hacking or other forms of cybercrime.
Leanne Kemp, CEO of Everledger, explains how she protects the IP of her blockchain security business in this Q&A.
Identify what adds value to your business
When considering where intellectual property may lie within your startup it is worth identifying those things that give your business value. Conducting an audit of these ‘Intellectual Assets’ then leads to considering which can be commercialised – these are likely to form the basis of your IP.
In this article, Dr. Claudia M. Duffy, European Patent Attorney, shares more practical advice for startup founders.
Search for patents before you invest in innovation
It is always possible that someone else has had a brilliant idea similar to your own – that’s why searching for existing patents is an important early step when creating a startup. An existing patent that relates to just a part of your new product or technology could be enough to stop you in your tracks. The good news is that the European Patent Office has a free online database which is a good place to start searching.
For more practical advice read this interview with founder Melissa Snover and patent attorney, Jim Boff.
Ensure you can trademark your startup’s name before you start building a brand
The thrill of starting your own business can lead founders to skip the key step of checking that the name they have chosen for their business is available for them to use. Trademark clearing is a process that establishes there is no clash or prior use of a trademark.
Mark Kingsley-Williams is founder of Lawpanel and an expert on intellectual property. In this short video he discusses the options for securing IP and registering trademarks.