Introduction to Essential IP Issues for Start Ups
Intellectual Property (IP) is a term which includes patents, designs, trademarks and copyright. Virtually all of the assets of a start-up or of a new project within a mature company emanate from the knowledge on which the start-up or project is based. As such, the ability to defend this knowledge is of crucial importance. In most cases inventors and/or entrepreneurs establish the company’s claim of exclusivity over its knowledge by filing one or more patent applications before seeking investment.
In order to effectively protect their assets, founders of start-ups must consider the following questions:
- How solid are the foundations of our claims to exclusivity over our knowledge?
- Will the entrepreneurs’ efforts to protect their knowledge pass the scrutiny of investors whose sole interest is in taking advantage of a business opportunity? Or will they fail by having taken steps that essentially eviscerated their apparent patent rights of any real content?
The following tips are designed to help start-ups successfully navigate the world of patents and to build a proper IP portfolio from the outset. Internalizing these tips and making use of the tools they describe can make the difference between obtaining investment and achieving business success — or failure.