Start-ups are a buzz with creativity and innovation, but often have a lot on their plate like raising finances, finding good talent and securing customers. So it’s understandable that thinking about intellectual property (IP) management seems like a waste of precious time and money. However, finding ways to protect your IP is one of the best investments you can make in the long term, even with financial and time pressures.
This editorial will provide a snapshot on IP and give start-ups quick tips on how to protect this intangible asset.
5 quick tips for start-ups
Don’t leave thinking about your IP needs until you’re ready to open the doors. You should be considering IP from your first business canvas as you are working out initial costs and ongoing needs. The best place to get started is the understanding IP section on the IP Australia website.
- Trade marks and business names
A trade mark and a business name are two different things. Registering your business name with ASIC doesn’t give you full rights over the use of that name. Find out the difference between the two and why you should consider registering your brand as a trade mark.
- Protect what you own
IP rights are great on paper, but you must act like you own the right or you may lose it. If you aren’t using your trade mark another business can make a case for your right to be revoked. It’s also up to you to monitor the use of your rights. If you see another business using your trade mark for example, you should seek legal advice to enforce your rights. You can find out more about IP infringements here on our website.
- Publicity traps
If you are a start-up that requires patents you need to be careful. Imagine you’ve finally had that breakthrough and your invention works. It may be difficult, but don’t jump up and shout about it from the roof-top, in fact, don’t even tell your mum! If you demonstrate, sell or discuss your invention publicly before you file a patent application, you may not be able to get that patent. If you want to discuss it with employees, manufacturing agents or designers, get them to sign a confidentiality agreement first.
- IP protection is for everyone
IP protection is not just for business, it’s for anyone with a new invention, business design, or new plant variety. It helps you protect your interests and it gives you a great bargaining chip when seeking investment in your idea or business. Visit the IP Australia website to learn more.
There’s a lot more to learn about as you consider registering IP rights for your business, invention or product. The best place to start is the IP Australia Website, where you can find more information about each type of IP right, search for existing rights, or even apply to register a right. Take some time to read more, learn from the experiences of other businesses and figure out how IP can work for you.