Are you an ambitious entrepreneur with plans to start or expand your own business? Intellectual property (IP) rights can protect the inventions and creations that drive your business and can help you gain exclusive rights in the market place. For this year's Global Entrepreneurship Week, we will be looking at some important tips to consider when thinking about your business's IP.
- Build your IP strategy – Your business's IP is an important asset that you will want to protect. Have a plan for how you will use IP to reach your business goals. Creating this plan, your IP strategy, helps you make sense of how best to manage your IP. It should always be aligned with your business goals.
- Responsibility for enforcement – Remember that it is up to the IP rights holder to monitor for infringement and enforce IP rights; not the government. As taking legal action can be costly and time consuming, consider consulting an IP professional before making decisions that could have a significant impact on your business. Also keep in mind that you must separately register your IP in each country that you wish to protect it in.
- Commercialize your IP – Start by identifying your IP and protecting your idea. It is crucial to keep in mind your IP strategy and to determine which commercialization models are most effective for your specific IP. IP valuation can help you make informed decisions and help you maximize the return on investment of your valuable creations or inventions.
- Partnering with other companies – Protecting your IP is critical as you enter a partnership or joint venture with other companies. While partnering can help to reduce costs and risks by sharing resources such as industry expertise, capital and IP, it is important to find the right company or companies to partner with and have a clear understanding of the roles that each of you will play, and how you will use and own existing or new IP.
- Familiarize yourself with the costs of maintaining your IP – Managing your IP also means managing the cost of IP. Plan for your IP administrative fees, any professional fees and make sure to include any IP outside Canada. Taking the initiative to understand these expenses can help you streamline your business strategy from a financial perspective.
In short, there are many IP-related considerations for entrepreneurs. Your IP can help you compete, grow and increase the value of your business. IP, just like physical assets, can draw in potential investors by increasing the value of your business. So, make sure you have a plan for how you will use IP effectively.