In part one of the series, I discussed not doing the proper paperwork before going to market.
Myth 2: We can patent all of our ideas.
While a patent is useful protection to keep others from misappropriating your ideas, it isn’t a catch-all. Different types of intellectual property (IP) require different types of protection, and using the wrong type can leave your IP free to be legally used by anyone else.
While there are certainly exceptions, most entrepreneurs aren't experts when it comes to the field of intellectual property. Their expertise often lies in the industry that their product caters to. They're certainly aware that their idea has value and needs to be protected, but many are unsure as to what steps to take, and can often let that uncertainty and indecision allow them to delay taking action on protecting their IP.
If it's not patents we need, then what?
Your first step to protecting your IP is to identify exactly what intangible assets you have and what type of protection you can seek on each. Often entreprenurs overlook the elements surrounding their business and focus entirely on the product itself when considering IP protection, but many of those elements also need to be protected. In addition to a product, you might have branding, print collateral, or any number of other things related to it that are the work of your creative mind. Making sure you get the right type of IP protection will help to ensure you can actually use them without fear of infringement.
If you’re unsure, speaking with a professional can help you assess what you have and advise you on next steps. (Hey, our ID your IP does that too!) And even if you do understand what assets you have and the necessary protection needed, it's still advisable to work with an attorney to avoid making a mistake that might cost more to fix in the long term. Don’t let fear of the unknown prevent you from taking the necessary steps to keeping your IP safe.
Download our whitepaper "To Patent or Not To Patent" for a case study on what Coca Cola chose: