How Intellectual Property can boost business value
Whether you are an established business or a startup, growing and maintaining growth is integral to success.
Here at Lumi we know that every business is different. And it’s this uniqueness that really helps a business thrive. One of the best ways to protect your business value is by protecting your unique ideas, products, services and designs. Protecting your Intellectual Property is a great way to gain a competitive advantage in your industry.
Knowing what Intellectual Property is and how it can add business value can ensure a more successful business future.
What is Intellectual Property (IP)?
Intellectual Property refers to the legal protection of any creation a business owner or entrepreneur develops for their business. There are several types of Intellectual Property. As a business owner it is important to know what is available to you. Intellectual Property can be owned, licensed and also sold. Interestingly, IP can belong to one person, a business or multiple people and businesses.
Some types of Intellectual Property include:
- Copyright protects writings, artwork, computer software, and films. Such as a script for a movie or a draft copy for a book
- Patents protect new ideas, inventions, and processes. Such as new engine designs for a car or a new type of battery
- Trade Marks protect wording, logos, branding and slogans
- Registered designs protect the visual design and layout of a product
- A trade secret is anything documented that is not known publicly. Such as a recipe for sauce or a soft drink
Did you know that you can protect your ideas, designs, brand name and even any smells you create such as perfumes?
You can already protect designs while you perfect your product. This is called a provisional patent. It acts as a placeholder for any full patents down the line. It may seem unnecessary and expensive to protect your IP, especially if you have only been in business for a short period of time. However, it can be really worth it. Why?
Carefully establishing ownership ensures you have business value in the future and prevents competitors from stealing your ideas. You can benefit from protecting your brand as you establish brand recognition while your business grows. By being proactive with filing for any relevant trademarks, and registering your business name, you will be protecting your brand in the long run. In case of a possible future dispute you can rely on your IP.
Potential private investors will ask what type of IP you have in place when looking at investing. If you don’t have IP it can be more difficult to obtain private funding. Likewise if you are looking at obtaining private investment to set up your IP it can be a hard sell. Investors ask for IP as it shows that you are serious about your business and ideas. That you have protected it and are able to defend it if necessary.
How can IP boost business value?
If a company creates a product that is unique to their business and protects the product by taking out IP, it can gain business value. This will give you a competitive advantage in the market because you will be the only one to have that unique item available.
For example, a plumber may invent a specific piece of equipment that saves time and money when installed. If the plumber was to protect this design and product, other plumbers may see the benefit of this product and they would have to purchase it from the creator business. If the plumber did not protect their product via IP, it would be open to being copied. The important point here is to move quickly when designing or creating any new type of product.
At Lumi we understand the need for protecting your unique ideas and know that the path of getting a design protected by IP can take considerable investment. To fund the IP, your business could therefore consider applying for funding such as a business loan. This could allow you to move quickly to prevent others from copying your idea all while protecting your cash flow.
How to protect IP?
We have looked at what Intellectual Property is and how it can add business value. But how do you actually protect your IP? Well, there are several ways to protect your Intellectual Property once it is developed. We have broken it down into a series of steps to help guide you through the process.
1. The first step is to understand, document and define what you plan on protecting via IP. Does your idea solve a problem for the consumer that has not been previously solved? If it does then you have found a gap in the market.
2. Now you have your idea. Keep it private. Try not to talk about your idea to anyone outside of your business.You can also get non-disclosure statements drawn up for any product designers you bring on board to sign.
3. Understand your options when it comes to IP. Find out which IP is best suited for your idea, product or service. You can find out more information about this here.
4. Now you have defined your idea, chosen the type of IP you want to apply for, you will need to fund the IP process. At this stage you will likely be looking at funding options. As private investment can be difficult to obtain, applying for a business loan to fund your IP and copyright your idea can be useful.
At Lumi there are a number of financing solutions available that could suit your needs. You can apply online within a few minutes and get an outcome within a few hours. Once you are approved, you can get access to cash on the same business day. This way you can apply for your IP without any delays.
5. Once you have secured your IP, it will be up to you to keep an eye out for anyone copying your designs. If you come across any unauthorised use of your product, idea, or designs you are well within your rights to seek legal remedies and recover any lost money.
At Lumi we are experts in small business funding and understand how important it is to have quick access to money in order to protect your IP. Reach out to our team to discuss what business funding solution would be best for your business’s needs. You can reach us via email at email@example.com or phone on 1300 00 5864.
Your Lumi team