The changing economic landscape is an opportunity for entrepreneurs to establish business start-ups that meet demands for new good and services. However, business start-ups have special intellectual property needs.
Intellectual property needs
Intellectual property includes materials or ideas that are intended to provide the start-up with a competitive advantage. These include non-obvious inventions, new methods to execute businesses processes, branding, artistic creations and written items and proprietary businesses processes.
Intellectual property protection depends on the idea or creation. In general, a patent is typically sought for a new device while trade secrets usually protect exclusive business processes.
Patents and trade secrets
Startups must also decide whether to seek a patent or protect their creations as trade secrets. Both have advantages.
A patent over ideas adds valuation to the business and may attract investors. This is important for start-ups which require capital to begin operations.
Patents may also have disadvantages. These technically protect the exclusive right to profit from an idea. But these protections are not absolute and require substantial investment.
Because patents are public, other companies may make minor adjustments to benefit from the idea while technically staying within the limits of patent protection. Legal action over violations may be expensive and lower the patent’s value.
Trade secret protection is easier to obtain. The idea must provide real value by remaining secret and the company has to take reasonable steps to maintain its secrecy. What constitutes reasonable measures depend on the protected concept, but these measures should include stringent security measures and internal policies.
Trade secrets do not effectively protect products that become publicly visible. A trade secret may be ineffective if another person can determine how it works or can reverse-engineer it.
Start-ups should develop a plan for registering patents, trademarks, and copyrights. They also need implement policies for protecting their intellectual property.