Intellectual property creations are often the core of any given company's value. Yet, founders often focus only on product development and marketing and sometimes (willingly) skip other steps, such as legal protection of IP. They say that this is not crucial to the company growth. But is that true?
Why should I protect my IP?
As long as everything goes well, you are not at risk. Some intellectual property rights are even protected by the operation of the law itself. For example, copyright over creative works is not registrable. It is protected by itself. But that does not apply to inventions, which are protected by patents, and trademarks, which should be registered. When someone uses your invention or trademark, which you have spent years (and millions) developing, or just copy-pastes carefully drafted wording of your website, for which you have spent endless hours polishing to attract new customers, you will want to take action. But often, it will be late at that time.
Similarly, when you will be raising your next big capital round, investors will come, offer you term sheets, and then conduct legal due diligence. If your IP is not nicely and safely packed in your company, they will be hesitant to invest.
Registration is an easy and fast way to secure an advantage for your business and avoid any risk arising from unauthorised use.
How can I protect my IP?
There are several actions you can take to protect your IP.
- Keep it a secret and out of sight. This obviously can't be a solution to trademarks and design - they are, by their nature, public. But keeping your invention a secret is the easiest way to protect it. You need to ensure that everyone working on it will keep it confidential and not share it with everyone. And you can protect your invention like this all the way until you make it public. It is an excellent approach for the development period or for inventions, which are difficult to patent or not worth enough to justify the cost of patenting them. If you need some outstanding confidentiality agreements, get in touch!
- Register your trademark. This is an easy one. Everyone goes out by their trading name. And it's pretty easy to protect it! You can get European Trademark protection, which covers all EU Member States. It's quick and not that expensive. You can also get your trademark protected in the UK and the USA. There is no reason to skip this.
- Register your design. A design is the appearance of a product: its shape, patterns and colours. The looks of your product or service are your design. And your customers recognise you just by your looks. It's part of your identity and image. It can be registered and protected similarly as the trademark, and you can file that for the whole EU as a single application and separately for the protection in the UK and the USA.
- Patent your invention. This is the toughest cookie. Inventions are tricky. An invention can be patented if it is a technical solution to a real problem, can be used in industrial application, is not obvious and is novel. The magic of getting a great and valuable patent is in describing your invention correctly, which is not just a legal challenge but mostly a technical one. And then, you can file for a patent, which can also be done EU wide. Patents are expensive, not just to register them but also to maintain them. And sadly, it does not protect you by default against competitors using your inventions but instead gives you grounds to sue them for breach of your patents. Nevertheless, they are a powerful tool to protect your company and its profitability in certain situations.
Have we persuaded you to protect your IP? Then, please keep reading to get it done and save time!
We know you. Entrepreneurs. You are constantly busy making your products, thinking about your vision and selling your products and services. And you do not want to waste your time registering and filing. So let us do it for you!
We can register your trademark or your design in no time! It takes you one email, one phone call with us - and that's it! 30 mins to get your trademark or design protected. We can also help you get your invention patented jointly with one of our patent agents, an expert in the field of your invention. And if you think keeping it a secret is sufficient for you - we will be happy to share one of our NDA drafts with you.
Get it done in no time. At no cost.
We also know that money is your biggest concern after time, so we have good news - the EU wants to help you get your IP protected. The SME Fund is offering financial support to SMEs.
Two types of vouchers are available:
Voucher 1 – 1,500 € - to use for IP Scan, trademark and design fees.
Voucher 2 – 750 € - to use for patent fees.
The vouchers are only available until 16th December 2022 and are limited and available on a first-come, first-served basis.
So contact us, and we'll do the rest!