Failing to Register Intellectual Property: Can it Ruin Your Startup?

You’ve got a great idea, you’ve got your data to back it up – but aren’t you missing something? If the big day is drawing closer and the romantic date with your investors is imminent, you better have protection for your intellectual property, or else…

You risk getting your idea rejected or even worse – stolen. The backbone of every startup is this one genius stroke of intelligence which can make the lives of people easier, happier and wealthier. But this idea is so vulnerable; you have certainly read a lot about it in various publications (copyright infringement and stolen intellectual property are a bigger issue than ever). What can you do to protect your startup and ensure you have your back covered?

What is intellectual property?

Intellectual property is any creation of the mind (inventions, artistic works, designs, etc.) which can be used in commerce for profit. IP is protected by law if registered, via various types of patents, copyright and trademarks. IP is extremely vulnerable to theft, as history has shown on many occasions.

Why you should protect your IP?

When meeting with investors, they will inevitably ask you whether you have your IP registered, as this is your proof of ownership. It can help you get your funding as a starters, but it can also prove a life-saver if you are faced with infringement accusations later on.

In order to help you stay protected, we are sharing a few tips we think you will find valuable!

  • Keep a record of all events connected to your product

Imagine a situation where a company claims they have thought of and created the exact same product as you have before you did. The only way to prove that they are the copy-cats is to have a record of all dates which matter to the creation, development and launch of your startup. Each new functionality you add should be patent-protected as part of the whole.

  • Make sure you’ve got things straight at company level

Having the necessary documentation to tie in every member of your startup legally is of utmost importance. This will help you stay protected from your own people, as they can sometimes prove to be the biggest pain in the long run. Sad but true.

  • Make sure you register your idea in the right place

Local startups should worry only about being registered in the country, but if you are going to operate worldwide, make sure you are protected everywhere. International patent organizations are difficult to deal with and you will certainly need the help of an experienced professional to make sure your products’ intellectual property protection extends everywhere it operates.

Having in mind all the big cases of copyright infringement that have recently made it to the news, it’s a good idea to have IP registration a priority task on your startup to-do list. Addressing this issue in the early stages of development is much more easier (although time-consuming) than having to deal with it later, when the stakes are much higher!

Feel free to ask any questions – we’ll be happy to help! Please post your feedback via the discussion boards below.

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