Whether you’re just starting out or you have an established business, it’s important to understand the basics of intellectual property (IP). Because IP is not a physical asset, it’s often overlooked.
Competing with larger established business requires new and disruptive innovation. Much of that creativity and innovation can be protected with registered IP like patents for inventions, trade marks for brands, and designs for the way a product looks.
According to our senior SBDC business adviser, Mike O’Donnell, safeguarding your business’s IP is an important step in developing and maintaining a successful business.
“Your business may have a wealth of IP, from the name on your door, to an innovative new process – consider the things that differentiate you from your competitors. As your business grows, so too will the importance of these assets,” Mike said.
Top 5 tips for new businesses
1. Start early
Include IP considerations when developing your business plan.
2. Consider trademarks
A trademark and a business name are two different things. Registering a business name doesn’t give you exclusive rights over that name.
Mike had the following advice when discussing this tip: “If you consider your unique business name is important for your business, then you’d be wise to check whether you can register the name as a trademark, to legally protect it throughout Australia.”
3. Take responsibility
It is up to you to manage and renew your IP registration.
4. Avoid publicising your idea
You may not be able to get a patent if you have discussed, demonstrated or sold your creation. If you need to discuss your idea with other people make sure they sign a confidentiality agreement.
5. IP is for everyone
IP protection is available to anyone, regardless of business size.