Startups are the fulcrum of innovation, whatever country you reside in. It’s entrepreneurial ideas that disrupt. They introduce new technologies that generate interest, power our devices and make waves in the industry. However, whenever there are new ideas, there are many stumbling blocks.
One of the biggest issues that startups suffer from is intellectual property. And, many preventable mistakes are killing new businesses before they even get started. Today, we’re going to take a look at some of the most common factors that can affect startups when it comes to IP protection.
Most Startups Don’t Value IP
First of all, there is a wild underestimation of the importance of IP from startups. It can be down to inexperience, of course – and naivety that suggests nothing will go wrong. Startup owners – rightly – concentrate on creating new products. But, there are many things they can let slip while their focus is on the ‘important’ stuff. But, there is nothing more important than taking an interest in your intellectual property. In fact, at the early stage, it is your most valuable asset. Startups certainly have no money coming in – all they have is their idea. So, owners should stop thinking about IP as a purely legal matter, and consider it a significant part of their business plans.
No IP planning
Planning is everything in business. And, many entrepreneurs will spend hours and days refining their plans of activities. However, leaving out any planning for IP matters is a big mistake. Not only will better IP plans keep your assets safe, but you will also uncover areas where you could be at fault. Even if you ‘copy’ a technology or idea used by another company by accident, you could find yourself in legal hot water.
Lack of groundwork
Many startups fail to do the groundwork for the most simple things. Take branding, as an example. It’s often one of the first things an excited entrepreneur and team will look into. They search for their perfect name, their classic logo, and their perfect color scheme. But, because they haven’t investigated trademarks and copyrights, they could fall foul of the law. It’s not too bad if this happens before they launch their product. But, if they get a letter a year or two after their launch, it means they will have to re-brand their company from scratch. The implications of this are obvious., so make sure you find a reputable IP firm to work with to ensure you will have no issues. Trademark Consultants suggest you find a company that has a lot of commercial knowledge, as the IP landscape changes often.
Confidentiality is another major issue for startups. Your intellectual property can suffer from a lack of awareness of protecting business information. Take Coca-Cola as the perfect example. It’s an enormous global company that employs almost 130,000 people. Only two people in the world know the exact formula for the drink, and the ingredients are locked up in a vault. If a company as big as Coca-Cola takes confidentiality so seriously, it’s clear that startups should also follow suit.