Everyone has a great idea once in a while. Some of us pursue these ideas. But sometimes people also pursue the ideas of others. Inventions, names, domains, and even discoveries are all subject to being taken, misused or stolen. This is where intellectual property steps in to protect them. You can catch up on the different types of IPs here. Intellectual Property is an investment that not only offers security but can also be a continual source of revenue. Here are the four reasons you should protect yourself:
Competition- Patents allow you to stop others from using or recreating your invention. This not only gives you an upper hand over your competitors but it forces more innovation overall. Since a rival business cannot copy you without permission they must look to different paths thus saturating the industry with multiple alternatives. Likewise trademarks bar and punish the use of your brand denying businesses the opportunity to piggyback off of your appeal.
Marketing- People associate your goods or service with your name, logo, slogan and even the décor of your store. All of this is your brand identity and over time begins to represent your company directly. It is important to deter other businesses from using your brand as they may feed off of your success or damage your image.
Revenue: IP lets you license your product, service and brand to others. In other words you collect a stream of money through a set term in return for allowing a company the use of your property. This can be a percentage of sales or a flat rate depending on the agreement. If they breach your licensing agreement then you can also collect damages including a piece of their profit and legal fees. An example would be how Google licenses out its phone technology while Kodak licenses its name and brand to other camera companies.
Value: Intellectual property can offer value in the form of strong patent portfolios. When companies go public their worth is judged by several things including how many patents they own and if they are in good standing. Patents offer a continually money source and can indicate a strong hold in the industry. Having a household name adds value as well. Coca Cola and Xerox are synonymous in their respective markets sometimes being used in place of the nouns and verbs. (Go Xerox this paper actually means go copy it.)