Establishing a new business comes with a lot of challenges and difficulties for example, acquiring capital, recruiting and managing a team of employees, gaining a loyal customer base, etc. Another issue that generally goes neglected is the intellectual property rights of every startup. It is essential for every startup to protect their IP rights as well as respect the rights of their competitors. Intellectual property rights creates a legal encasement for all the ideas, revenues and protects from competitors and rivals. It raises the value of your startup in the eyes of angel investors and venture capitalists. There are few common mistakes that people generally make regarding IP rights.
Applying for patents, drafting and maintaining an IP filing can get extremely costly. A lot of money, time and energy can get wasted if the patent filings are not done in a proper manner. Ensure that all your important innovations are filed for patents and emphasize on drafting patents for the valuable resources. To reduce the unnecessary expenses it is important to build a well-worked out strategy. Consult a patent attorney for better results. In the initial stage the employees and team members can take part in building the strategy to reduce excess cost.
Another thing to do to avoid serious consequences is get all your employees to sign on the agreement. The company’s agreement must state clearly that all the employees are to respect the IP rights of the company and strive to protect the entire intellectual property belonging to it. Also the non-employees who frequently interact with your startup, such as designers, contractors need to be informed and obliged to follow the IP rights of your company.
It is also important to take care of others’ trademark rights. Your company should not perform any sort of action that will in any way infringe someone else’s trademark rights. Trademark infringement occurs when your actions, publications or advertisements confuse the customers as to the origin or source of the product you are selling with that of another company. Your startup name, logo or any such thing should not convey the misinformation that you and some other company are linked somehow.
Trade secrets are an invaluable part of every startup. It can include anything from formula, business idea, pricing to customer data to expected deals, etc. Any information that another person can use to bring down your reputation among your customers can be claimed as trade secret. It is vital for any startup to legally protect all of their trade secrets.
Finally learn to distinguish between different types of patents such as utility patents and design patents. More importantly consult a law firm and hire a suitable lawyer. Your intellectual property is as vital as your other resources.