Intellectual Property and its Role in SME
If you’re anything like the Entrepreneurs at Twinery, you are never short of ideas that could potentially change the world. But unlike our team, you may not be fully aware of how to move things forward. Or how to really even get started in the first place. After all, it takes a lot of perspiration to birth a truly great invention.
So, we at Twinery would like to take a step back from showcasing our innumerable exciting new innovations and projects, to educate the budding entrepreneurs out there on a variety of important areas. Many of which could prove essential to first time inventors.
Let’s begin with… Patents.
So, if you’ve never heard of patents before, the basic concept is that they are intended as a safeguard for your creations or intellectual property (IP). It is important to note that, while general ideas or even words are not patentable; specific inventions, processes and other items that fall under the domain of IP may be registered for patents, attributable to individuals.
And, most important of all, during the time that your application for a patent is ongoing, your invention may carry the “Patent Pending” and patent application number watermarks.
Having a “Patent Pending” has a number of advantages. One is time-stamping your claim on the relevant IP. This “priority” is especially important in case someone swoops in and tries to apply for a patent on seemingly similar IP, so you can show you got there first.
Another benefit related to establishing “priority” for a patent is that it allows you to license or sell the patent application itself, even if your patent has not been granted as yet. Particularly when it comes to technology, this may be a key tipping point for some companies in terms of acquisitions.
Further, once “Patent Pending” status has been claimed, you can begin the all-encompassing and all-important process of marketing your IP, whether it is in a B2B setting or going wide via B2C channels.
However, being “Patent Pending” does not mean that you stand on any sort of firm legal footing. But, it does enable you to publish documents, websites and even hold demos related to your IP. You may also be able to send sternly worded legal correspondence in defense of your IP. Mainly, it just identifies your priority for the patent in the public domain and sets you up for the day, likely years away, when or if your patent is granted.
Tied into the patent application process is also the potential for hefty amounts attributable to domestic and international application fees and legal costs. These can typically go up significantly if the IP is highly technical or requires in-depth filings.
Simply put, patents and even the initial “Patent Pending” status is no easy get. It requires a careful consideration of all factors and significant resources committed. On the other hand, for those bold enough to venture forward, and ultimately complete, this arduous application process, the benefits accrued may be exponential.