Business, Startups

Intellectual Property Rights for Startups- What, Why & How

A lot of research, creativity and time go into coming up with a new product or service, its logo or tagline and even a company name to begin a business. Much hype is emerging in the start-up zone about Intellectual Property Rights and why is it so essential. Startups lack knowledge and usually tend to overlook the importance of Intellectual Property Rights until it is too late. Some Intellectual Property Rights if not registered at the right time can become a huge loss to a business enterprise and the chance to get them registered would be lost forever. They need to be educated on the importance of Intellectual Property Rights and how it could become a business asset for them.

First of all, let us focus on what Intellectual Property (IP) Rights mean and what are its most common types.

IP refers to the endless creative ideas and invention a mind comes up with, it can be any work of art, a name, a logo, a symbol, literal work, lyrics to a song or even its tune. Any form of creative work or invention that one truly owns and gets registered  in his/her name is part of Intellectual Property Right and the creator gets credited for the registered matter or idea if someone else wants to use it. Every country has laws to protect Intellectual Property and have country specific or even international acceptance to the registered article or idea. For a start-up it is essential to know what the types of IP are.

Copyrights The exclusive and assignable legal right, given to the originator for a fixed number of years, to print, publish, perform, film, or record literary, artistic, or musical material. The general rule is that copyright lasts for 60 years. In the case of original literary, dramatic, musical and artistic works the 60-year period is counted from the year following the death of the author. In the case of cinematograph films, sound recordings, photographs, posthumous publications, anonymous and pseudonymous publications, works of government and works of international organisations, the 60-year period is   counted from the date of publication.
Patents A government authority or licence conferring a right or title for a set period, especially the sole right to exclude others from making, using, or selling an invention. One gets a 20 year protection from the date of filing of the application for the patent., in the country of filing.
Trademarks A symbol, word, or words legally registered or established by use as representing a company or product. One gets 10 years of protection in the country of filing and can renew it every 10 years.
Designs A plan or drawing produced to show the look and function or workings of a building, garment, or other object before it is made. One gets 10 years of protection in the country of filing and can renew it every 5 years.

Intellectual Property Rights are beneficial in many ways and a start-up ought to know the importance of these rights while launching their work.

  • These rights act as a protection from those who want to replicate the product or logo of a company and profit out of someone else’s invention or idea.
  • It secures the business or company name by legitimizing each product and a consumer benefits as well if he buys the product from a certified or authenticated dealership only. For example if a buyer buys a replicated phone from an uncertified source simply because it looks like an iPhone, he cannot go to the consumer court if it gets spoilt.
  • It is a boon as per an investor’s point of view as well and a business would have more leverage if their rights are properly registered.

Whoever said, Precaution Is Better Than Cure, had not known how appropriate it would sound one day for IP Rights. However, knowing the benefits of IP are not enough for startups these days, they also need to know what they should avoid since a small mistake might end up costing them millions.

  1. Do not wait long to register your invention, name, logo or idea. Like every perishable item, an idea or a creation too has a shelf life especially when you may be looking at marketing a website or product into the e-commerce world.
  2. Do not believe that IP is irrelevant and not useful, for example if your product or invention clicks to the world and becomes famous then marking a patent will be tough and probably even impossible to register.
  3. Do not try becoming ‘Jack of all trades, it is best that you contact an experienced lawyer who deals in IP law, who guides you with right information about IP rights and also registers them for you.

Each and every business needs to understand the importance of Intellectual Property rights and the protection it provides. The main goal of any business venture who believes in making a success out of whatever they strive to do or invent will definitely understand the significance of Intellectual Property rights and will find the need to ensure that it has a secure future in today’s world.

Disclaimer: This is a guest post. The statements, opinions and data contained in these publications are solely those of the individual authors and contributors and not of iamwire and the editor(s).

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