Your first step to becoming a successful entrepreneur is having a ground-breaking idea. That one little thing that could change the world. We all dream of discovering it, some people already think they’ve found it. If you’ve got your world-changing idea, then protect it with everything you’ve got. In business, your ideas are the single most valuable thing you have. When investors offer millions of dollars to companies, it’s because of their ideas. They are buying concepts.
In the fast moving and open world of communications, ideas spread fast. It’s now easier than ever for something to steal a great idea and develop it faster than you. This needn’t necessarily be malicious. Sometimes an idea just spreads and someone builds upon it and it grows faster than you can stop it. That’s why intellectual property (IP) protection should be your number one priority as a new business. Here’s how you protect your ideas.
Thanks to Mike Seyfang for the image
Intellectual property is a complex minefield. The laws are extensive and the processes long and difficult. Arm yourself with all the knowledge and learning you can before you set out on business. Research how patents work. Find out exactly what they do and how you file for them. How long do they last and how much do they cost? Research the intricacies of copyright and how that might apply to your business. The other major area is trademarks. These typically apply to products. Every business has different IP protection needs. Find out what yours are first.
Patent your idea and everything around it
Your first idea is the most important. However, spend some time to develop that idea. Think about how it might grow and develop in the future. What other products, services and concepts might come from it? What other sectors could you reach and where is the future of your product? Garner a full picture of your company’s future. Then patent any potential ideas that may rise from that initial idea. It is not enough to patent just one thing.
Produce non-disclosure agreements
Non-disclosure agreements are put in place to restrict your employees from discussing the product. It helps keep future concepts and developments a secret until they are launched. It is vital if you have a sensitive idea that will take a long time to come to fruition. You need to protect your business.
Work with an IP lawyer
As we mentioned previously, this area of law is wildly complex. You need an expert who can help you navigate the difficult processes. Choose a company can assist you in other areas of your legal needs too. A Gibraltar law firm can handle everything from contracts to IP. Don’t tackle this complex area alone.
Finally, file as quickly as possible. If your idea is triggered by recent developments, then you can bet others will follow. The patent process allows you to submit the patent before using a 12 month period to develop it. File the idea fast and then work on it.
There you have it, folks, a quick background on IP law and how to protect your ideas and concepts. Put it at the heart of your early business strategy.