26 April 2021 is World Intellectual Property (IP) Day and the theme this year is ‘IP & SMEs: Taking your ideas to market’. Therefore we, at MacLachlan & Donaldson, IP Attorneys, thought it would be beneficial to share some information about IP to help you protect the ideas you take to market.
What is IP?
IP are the intangible property rights which can be obtained to protect creations of the mind, such as new inventions and modifications, literary and artistic works, the outward appearance of a product, and symbols, names and images used in commerce. The different forms of IP protect different things and provide different rights and obligations.
Like other types of property, IP is protected by law which allows the proprietors of such property to earn money or recognition from their inventions or creations, while enabling action to be taken to prevent others from obtaining a benefit from these important pieces of property.
Why protect IP?
IP is an integral component of any successful business. For SMEs it’s very important to protect any unique products or services to prevent market share loss to copy cats.
The link between IP and economic growth has been demonstrated in a joint study carried out by the EUIPO and the EPO in February 2021, showing companies that own IP rights to have 20% higher revenue per employee than companies that do not. This rises to 55% and even higher for SMEs.
Protecting your IP protects not just your current marketplace but your future marketplace as it safeguards your ability to expand geographically. Additionally, IP rights can be bought, sold, used as a lien or as security and can generate income through licensing. Identifying and protecting your IP may increase the worth of a business in the eyes of investors.
Create a strategy for your IP
Having an IP Strategy provides a competitive edge in the market.
Develop and identify innovation, new designs, new trade marks or new trade secrets (formulas/recipes);
Apply to protect the innovation, modification, design, trade mark or to document the trade secret, ideally before it goes to market or is promoted;
Renew any existing patents, designs or trademarks;
Value your IP, if applicable;
Licence or enter in other agreements taking advantage of your IP or collaborate in the knowledge that your IP is safeguarded; and
Police and enforce your rights against infringers, if necessary.
MacLachlan & Donaldson has substantial experience working with companies and investors and we understand the time, effort, and resources that go into creating new IP. By working closely with our clients, we can recognise new and emerging IP, and the potential value it can create for a business if properly safeguarded.
Register now for our World Intellectual Property Day webinar ‘SME’s and IP – Taking your ideas to Market’ on Thursday, 29 April at 11am with MacLachlan & Donaldson.