Intellectual property is best described as the property of the mind. Typically, this includes ideas or designs that are sparked from an individual’s own thoughts and creative processes. For a fresh startup, intellectual property is certainly an important aspect of the business that sometimes gets overlooked during the early stages of development. However, make no mistake, intellectual property is absolutely critical and should be protected from the very beginning. It could make the difference between failure or success.
What Falls Under Intellectual Property?
As mentioned, intellectual property is generally a person’s innovative thoughts and ideas. Some things that can fall under intellectual property may include:
- Copyrights include artistic and literary works.
- Trademarks include signs or symbols that can distinguish services.
- Patents include inventions of brand new products or services.
- Industrial designs include the aesthetic appearance of an article.
- Geographical indications include information about the origins of the product.
Each of the points indicated here can be achieved through a process that a business or individual must apply for either on your own or with the help of an experienced business attorney.
Why Protect Intellectual Property?
Some brand new businesses that have limited funding may wonder whether or not it is worth it to protect intellectual property, after all, the process can be expensive and tedious. However, the reality is that there are a number of aspects of a business that can be impacted by unprotected intellectual property such as:
- Information could be stolen. Businesses may be surprised at how often unprotected ideas can easily be swooped up by someone else who is ready to take all the credit.
- The idea may already exist. Without going through the process for obtaining a copyright, trademark, or patent, a business may be unknowingly infringing on an idea that already exists.
- Investors may be hesitant. Without proper protection, potential investors may deem a start-up as too risky or unorganized and may look to invest in businesses who have all of their bases securely covered.
- It becomes difficult to grow. Without the protection of intellectual property, it makes it difficult to franchise or develop an LLC.
However, the information above applies to developed businesses as well. It is never too late to protect the ideas and concepts that are the backbone of the business. In fact, the longer that intellectual property is attainable to the public without protection, the more you risk financially.
What Can You Do?
Being a startup is certainly an exciting, yet challenging time. Intellectual property protection is definitely something that no new business should skimp on. While the process may seem overwhelming, there are professionals that can assist you through each stage of the process. Kristina Reed is an experienced business attorney in the Sacramento area. Her specialized and thorough approach allows new and seasoned business owners the peace of mind that they deserve. She offers insight in all things business including intellectual property. Contact her for the information you need to keep your business protected and operating at its fullest potential.