The What and Whys of Intellectual Property (IP)
Intellectual Property and Why It Should Matter to You.
Author: DBS BusinessClass, Administrator of DBS
It's probably not really a priority right now – amidst starting a company, bringing an idea to life and finding the best team for the business, but more entrepreneurs are seeing the value in protecting their IP.
Depending on the nature of your business, you'll be applying for different types of IP. A patent prevents other people from copying your invention – which can come in the form of a product or service. A trademark protects your brand or product name from being used by others.
But is it really necessary? After all, your start-up doesn't seem to fall under any of these categories.
1. VCs are looking for start-ups with a unique advantage
Getting funding from VCs can be an easier process if your start-up has been protected from potential ‘copycats'. Think of it as barriers to entry for your competitors, and an added advantage for your business to gain a foothold in the market. It helps if you've got a good IP portfolio too, and an IP strategy that you can pitch to your investors.
2. In the world of patents, it's always good to have first-mover advantage.
Apply for a patent as soon as you can. Singapore works on a ‘first-to-file' basis, so any inventor that files their patent before yours has the rights to the invention, even if you came up with the idea first. It's always good to consider the short-term and long-term effects of applying for a patent, so consider the costs involved before moving forward. The IPOS also has various funding and assistance schemes in place that can lessen the financial burden on your shoulders.
3. It creates brand differentiation
It can start from something as simple as a trademark on your product's name to position your brand in a consumer's mind. The phrases "patent pending" and "patent protected" connote that the brand is novel and innovative, allowing you to build your marketing strategy on these positive associations.
IP can also be a source of interest to future acquirers and protect you against competitors or large companies that use patent portfolios as barriers to entry against you.
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