Intellectual property can be an easily overlooked area of business, but when you’re in the business of bringing your ideas to life through your inventions, you can’t ignore your intellectual property. Intellectual property is the legal right to a number of things, including ideas, creations, and inventions, but it can also include symbols, names, images, models, and designs. This means your corporation could be creating intellectual property without even realizing it.

There are a number of misconceptions when it comes to intellectual property, including its definition and the wide range of items included in the definition, how and what you need to protect, and why you should protect it. There are a number of benefits available to corporations when it comes to identifying and protecting intellectual property.

Profit from Your Creations

Once you establish the right to your creations, you can sell them without worrying about someone else taking your idea and profiting from it. Legally protecting your product or service prevents competitors from copying or even closely imitating it. There are different types of intellectual property depending on what you are protecting. These include copyrights, patents, trademarks, trade secrets, industrial designs, and integrated circuit topographies.

Stand Out from Your Competitors

Intellectual property can help you stand out from your competitors by protecting assets like your distinct corporate identity, image, and reputation. All these things make up your brand – and it’s how your customers identify you. If competitors started copying aspects of your identity, customers would no longer be able to distinguish between you and your competitors on identity alone. A unique brand or image builds trust with your competitors and helps you earn their business.

Protect Yourself in Export Markets

If you will be exporting products, you’ll want to consider registering your intellectual property in foreign markets. Not getting proper legal advice when it comes to intellectual property is one of the five more common mistakes a first-time inventor should avoid, and this becomes even more important when dealing with foreign markets. Make sure your intellectual property legal team has experience dealing with intellectual property in foreign markets.

The rules are different depending on whether or not your home country has a treaty or convention with the country you are exporting to. If so, then proving your intellectual property is registered in your home country is likely enough to be recognized in the foreign country. For countries that don’t have treaties or conventions with your home country, you will need to research the laws in that country, so make sure you seek professional legal advice from a lawyer who knows the intellectual property laws in the country or countries you will be exporting to.

Seeking appropriate legal advice regarding your intellectual property at the beginning stages of your product development can save you money down the road when you discover someone has copied your design. While we don’t provide legal advice at Pivot International, we do have many years experience getting ideas from the conceptualization stage to the production stage. Check out our list of product and business development services to learn more.