8 key considerations for protecting business intellectual property

The protection and cultivation of intellectual property (IP) is one of the most important things for new businesses to get right – as Angelica Malin recently explained in Racontuer.  Despite the importance of IP, however, it’s often overlooked – which can be very costly in the long run.

IP is a form of property for businesses – allowing them to protect the effort they put into the development of new ideas.  And to protect it, it’s important to focus on the following:

  1. Identify your IP assets

The first step in determining how to effectively manage your IP involves making sure you identify all your IP assets.  This identification process allows a new business to begin the process of protecting their IP.

  1. Build an IP strategy

Once you’ve identified your IP assets – focus on building a strategy which will support your commercial goals.

  1. Prepare for investor scrutiny

It’s important to be ready for investor due diligence to take advantage of funding opportunities, which ultimately will lead to more revenue, more sales, and more growth for your business.

  1. Create an IP data management system

Who manages your IP is very important, particularly when it comes to assessing new innovations, what your IP budget is – and the cultivation and adaptation of your IP strategy and the procedures which support it.

  1. Avoid mistakes

Many common mistakes can and should be avoided when managing your business IP, including making sure you are careful when choosing a company name, a domain or developing and designing your own products which might infringe industrial property rights of third parties. .  Check the IP processes and documentation requirements for your industry — and work to create an IP portfolio in jurisdictions where you do business and do not publish your own ideas until they are protected.

  1. Always be strategic

Maintain a strategic mindset when seeking to protect your IP. For example, be careful when publicly revealing new inventions and designs before protecting them.

  1. Be mindful of deadlines and boundaries

Timing is vital with IP.  For example, it’s important to always ensure you are filing patent applications before disclosing an invention, and putting confidentiality agreements in place before doing so. Setting clear boundaries to business collaborations is also important to protecting your IP

  1. Create a budget

Protecting IP can be costly – therefore before acting to protect anything – balance the potential rewards versus costs to protect.  Also, be aware of patent trolls and protect yourself from them.  Establish a budget and seek to stick to it.

Looking forward

Protecting your IP is vital for any new business. With the steps above, you can protect your business and enhance its’ growth.  Many businesses overlook these steps and place themselves at risk because of it – don’t let your business be one of them.