Startups are the engines that derive innovation in US, the businesses generate new ideas, from the invention that power the device we use only a daily basis to the brand names and logos attached to those products. With the right step in place companies can covert these ideas and intangible assests into valuable property rights (IP). Unfortunately, all too many startups stumble out of the blocks on IP issues, adding challenges to their already difficult path to success. Avoiding the common IP mistakes that startups make will increase your companies chances of defying the odds and excelling where other have failed.
Startups mistake and how to avoid them
- Underestimating the importance of IP: if you are like most entrepreneur, and do not take IP rights seriously, instead you spend your day in creating your product and executing your plans, then you must know that your work is an intangible asset, which has value and need to be protected. But you consider IP as a legal issue that can be dealt by lawyers. This common approach is a fundamental mistake, the most successful business understand the importance of the IP.
Considering that IP asset as represent large asset class, you need to stop thinking about intellectual property as a legal matter and instead understand that your business can create value by making intellectual property part of your business plan.
- Failing to give IP plan your time: many times entrepreneurs don’t take the time go create a plan to harness their intangible assets or to ensure that they are not infringing the rights owned by third parties. This is a critical mistake that can doom your startup. IP plan serves as a roadmap for your business to use to harvest the most value from your innovation that you are creating. The plan will help you prioritize tasks and ensure that you are not missing opportunities to build value.
The startups need to face costly IP suit that will force it to spend precious time and money. Taking time to create IP plan at the outset will drastically decrease chance that your companies will face this prospect. Think this as a startup that will compound over time.
- No communication setups: in the haze of growth, many companies miss this shift and don’t setup systems to ensure that the creators and deciders are communicating on regular basis. Without communication you won’t be able to harness the value from your innovation you are creating. Keeping the deciders informed will allow them to protect you from costly lawsuits. To avoid this you should develop a plan to ensure that the deciders and creators are having regular communication.
- Failing to run a trademark search: the best time to discover a trademark issue for your name of choice is at the outset. If you discover a trademark issue for the name at the point, it’s easy to pivot and find a new name. failing to run a trademark search is a critical There are plenty of attorneys and search firms who will perform this task at a reasonable fee. Assuming, the name is clear you would be well served to file a trademark application, but at minimum you should ensure there are no obvious conflicting marks.
- Not setting up confidentiality protection: lastly, failing to put in place confidentiality protection is a mistake. Trade secret law allows companies to protect confidentiality protection. The key to obtaining and preserving the protection is that the company must take reasonable steps to ensure the confidentiality of information.
This list could have included many more mistakes that startups make with respect to their intellectual property. Most of the specific mistakes that startups make stem from the first two mistakes in this list, failing to recognize the importance of intellectual property and failing to take the time to create an intellectual property plan. Startups that recognize the importance of IP from the outset and spend the time and money to develop a plan have a significant leg up in the market.