Running a successful startup usually hinges on the idea that you are providing a novel product or service, something that couldn’t be retrieved in the same way elsewhere. Otherwise, why would anyone choose your startup over more established firms? This is why you rarely see startups operating as a ‘fast food, cheap burger joint’ when McDonald’s and Burger King already have such a strong hold on the market. To win people over to your brand, you need to have that spark of originality and creativity that is sought after by investors and entrepreneurs alike.
This unique driving force and idea of business, whether that be in service provided or product line, is usually referred to as ‘intellectual property.’ The clue is in the name. Intellectual property is the best legal shielding of a valuable idea. For the most part, businesses are kept alive by money and physical effort, but they are nourished by good ideas. An impressive bricks-and-mortar firm in your local high street might look like a completely physical entity, but often the best and biggest conglomerates run more efficiently by correct and well-considered thoughts.
The following reasons are but a few of the most important things to know about intellectual property.
Every business has it. Not every business litigates or patens it, but every business has its idea that they hope won’t escape the confines of its operation. Solid intellectual property, no matter what it is, is required to help a business stay successful. There’s a reason that KFC has lasted as long as it has, and stands out among all other fried chicken shops. Colonel Sanders’ unique spiced recipe, his intellectual property, has stimulated the firm throughout the decades.
Patents Are Useful
Patents can help you shield your idea for 20 years before anyone else gets a grip on what you’re doing and replicates it for themselves. This allows great ideas to develop and be capitalized from, hopefully blossoming from their point of origin. However, usually, it isn’t the idea that warrants shielding, or who conceived of it first. Usually, it’s the person with the first patent award that can enact it. This is why it’s important to hire commercial solicitors that can help you navigate through the treacherous world of intellectual property rights, and help you litigate if needs be.
It’s Not A Given
Just because you have a great idea and have built your business around it doesn’t mean that your idea is protected. You need to apply for the intellectual property shielding that you require, and you may only get a temporary extension to do so. Copyright works in much the same way. It is why many classical novels or even Disney movies will one day be part of the collective public ownership. Copyright laws are changing constantly though, to keep up-to-date with the modern archiving and always-online hosting we are now so lucky to have.
It’s Not The Same As Copyright
Intellectual property is an idea that helps you capitalize in some way. Copyright is usually referring to some work of art, regardless of quality.
Your Employees Aren’t Automatically Responsible For It
Just because you trust your employees and respect them enough to know they’ll make good decisions, that doesn’t obstruct them legally to prevent them telling another firm what your idea is. You’ll have to be careful here. Consider having your staff of appropriate access rights to the original idea sign an NDA, otherwise known as a Non-Disclosure Agreement. If they break the terms of this, you will be able to litigate against them for damages and recuperate some of your losses.
Heavy research, coupled with a hired team who know what they’re doing, and your IP is sure to your concept for a long, fruitful time.