Benefits of IP protection
Your intellectual property can consist of many different assets, from logos and corporate identity through to novel products, services and processes that differentiate your business offering.
Intellectual Property (IP) Protection is fundamental for innovation to thrive. It rewards creativity and can generate tangible benefits to businesses, employees and society.
Many companies do not realise that their intellectual property assets may be integral to the core services of the business and overall long-term viability. Also, many smaller companies believe that exploiting their IP is too time consuming, too expensive and difficult to see a return on an investment. This is not the case and any company irrespective of its size or the nature of its business should have a strategy which considers the importance of any IP assets. It is also important to have a strategy in place to protect any unique products or services that you own as competitors can essentially steal or piggy back on your success to take away market share. Not considering your IP will adversely impact on your company’s ability to grow and consolidate its revenue stream. Losing market share early on in a business’s development can be devastating and time consuming if you have never thought about protecting your IP or what you should do if faced with an infringement.
Some of the main advantages to IP protection are set out below:
- Protecting your IP gives you an exclusive property right and can help your business to do better than it otherwise would, or it can kick-start a new business.
- Developing effective IP protection strategies will depend on your particular business. An effective strategy may involve a range of IP protection options. As an example, you may seek patent protection for your product, register its design and develop a branding strategy based on a registered trademark.
- IP protection can allow you to turn your knowledge/idea into a tangible asset capable of assignment, transfer and licensing.
- Your protected IP can be used as a leverage for attracting investors, as collateral for obtaining finance.
- Protecting your IP can reduce the risks associated with commercialisation by deterring competitors from using the protected IP.
Protecting your IP can help generate revenue and provide a return on investment in R&D
Protecting your IP can allow you to generate royalty income from licensing.
A trade mark/brand can operate as a “badge of origin” and be used to promote your goods/services thereby providing a guarantee of source and quality to customers/prospective customers
You may decide patent protection is not worthwhile and that maintaining secrecy and using confidentiality agreements will provide enough time in which to develop brand recognition and loyalty or develop new products and services. Or you may only focus on a trademark to develop your position in the marketplace. because once your product is in the marketplace, you cannot prevent others from copying it.
Using a range of protective measures gives you layers of protection and strengthens your position in the marketplace. Whatever strategy you adopt to protect your IP, it should ideally be integrated into your overall business plan.
Explore all the options available and seek professional advice, from a patent or trademark agent, if required.
There are many other benefits of protecting IP, which may not be immediately obvious. For example, in Ireland there are tax breaks and reduced taxation on profits attributed to products sold that are covered by registered intellectual property rights (patents and copyright) and trade secrets.
Other less frequently mentioned benefits are set out in the attached information sheet.