When starting your business, an Intellectual Property strategy must be on the top of your priorities, as your creativity and innovation can set you apart from competitors and make you stand out among investors.
So, what is intellectual property?
In short, the WIPO (World Intellectual Property Organization), defines Intellectual Property are the creations of the mind, such as inventions; literary and artistic works; designs; and symbols, names and images used in commerce.
The most common mechanisms of IP protection are copyright, trademark and patents.
Let’s break it down:
In short, a trademark is a sign capable of distinguishing the goods or services of one company from the goods or services of other companies.
Most common forms and types of trademarks:
- Name (textual element)
- Logo (graphical element)
- Combined (text + logo)
It can also include:
- Symbols (Lego brick)
- Sounds (MGM lion roar or the voice of the late Professor Stephen Hawking),
- Colours (purple of Milka chocolate)
- Slogans, (Nike’s ‘Just Do it’)
- Shapes of products or packaging (Toblerone)
- Internet domain names
- Patterns, (Pattern used on Louis Vuitton’s distinctive brown leather bags)
Well, from the very beginning, when you don’t even have a tangible product or service, you already have a name in mind and even a logo you draw on your notebook. It doesn’t matter if is the final name and logo but it’s on this moment your IP strategy begins and when your brand is born.
Hence the importance of the registration of your name and logo at the earliest stage of your business: to protect the idea that you probably had in mind when you were still in college or working your 9 to 5 job for the past 10 years and to avoid a conflict between a brand and an existing trademark.
Why register a trademark?
It protects the authorial work as a result of original intellectual activity of its creators and arises automatically upon creation, although you can opt to register for greater protection.
It gives the author of original literary, musical and artistic works (including software, sound and music recordings, film, tv recordings, NFTs (link) and other published works) certain rights over these works.
Patents protect innovations, being the exclusive right granted for an invention, product or a process, that provides, in general, a new way of doing something, or offers a new technical solution to a problem.
So, if you have a revolutionary idea, you might consider applying for a patent registration.
Of course, you need to fill some requirements. The invention:
- must be new
- must be useful
- must be non-obvious
- must not be yet protected
A patent gives its owner the exclusive right to use the invention in the territory to which the patent relates, and no one may use the invention without their consent.
The owner may give consent to the use of the patent by other persons. Consent to use the patent is granted by a license agreement. The patent can also be transferred to another person.