You know you need to protect your intellectual property (IP), but how should you go about creating an IP strategy? To help you get started, here are three common mistakes made when creating an IP strategy that you should avoid:
1. Not investing enough time, money, and thought into IP from the beginning
As an entrepreneur, you are right to be cautious and downright picky in how you spend your time and money. But your IP protection is one place that deserves thoughtful consideration and considerable investment. Spending money on patent applications now will produce big dividends later on, and that includes hiring a patent lawyer who can walk you through all the steps and review your application before you file. Include the costs for lawyers and applications into your budget. But do not stop (or even start!) with patents. You also need to spend time developing your trademarks. Take the time to develop strong marks that do more than just describe the product or company. Your trademark must be unique and memorable for potential customers and investors.
2. Waiting until the company is "big enough"
A common mistake among startup companies is waiting too long to file for a patent, trademark, or copyright. Even worse is ignoring any contracts and agreements made, as well as ignoring the process necessary for trade secret protection. Don't wait until your company grows to apply for IP protection.
3. Relying on only one type of IP protection
IP protection takes several forms including patent, trademark, and copyright registration, as well as trade secret protection. Understand the differences between these different types of IP protection, and decide which one(s) work best for your business. Often times, businesses need all four forms of IP protection.
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