Intellectual property is property like any other. Just like you would not leave your house without locking the front door or leave the keys in the ignition of your car, you should take measures to protect your intellectual property.
Even though the protection of intellectual property is equally important, it is not on the forefront of our minds as often as the protection of our cars, houses or phones is.
Let’s look at three reasons why you should protect your intellectual property.
Intellectual property comes in many shapes and sizes, ranging from the sketch you drew when you were 15 to the Nokia tune and the works of Ernest Hemingway.
We are surrounded by intellectual property every day and most likely we create new intellectual property daily. And in order to make the most of intellectual property, it should be protected.
The protection of intellectual property entitles the owner to a legal monopoly over the protected property. The legal monopoly means that the owner of the intellectual property is in control of the use thereof.
Thus, protecting your intellectual property allows you to price it at the point you see fit. Without the protection, there is no monopoly right over the intellectual property and anyone and everyone is able to use and benefit from it.
It is economics 101 that in such a case, the benefit to you is smaller.
So, the first reason why you should protect your intellectual property is that the protection of intellectual property allows you and only you to benefit from the intellectual property.
Building the brand
In addition to the monetary gain, proper intellectual property protection can lay the foundation of a strong brand.
The instant recognition that a blue jewellery box is from Tiffany’s or the slender shape of a bottle and the association with Coca-Cola are not random, but achieved through a careful and well executed intellectual property protection strategy combined with clever marketing.
Without the protection, the blue boxes or the shape of the bottle could have been used by anyone and would not have become synonymous with these brands.
A strong brand is important to all, whether it is goods or services that you provide.
A solid brand helps to grow the market share, allows for better growth opportunities and signifies quality to the consumer.
To the merchant, this all translates into revenue. Without a strong brand, this will not happen.
The protection of intellectual property is important to build a strong brand and clearly stand out from all others.
Proactivity instead of reaction
Rovio had developed 51 games with mediocre success before launching Angry Birds and becoming a household name in the industry.
They had no idea that a game with colourful birds and pigs will go viral and become their key to success. Just as Rovio did not know which of these games will be a success, it is impossible to predict whether an idea or a product gains popularity before it does.
As the use of internet is growing by the minute and the world has never been smaller and the copying of good ideas easier, protecting your intellectual property after the product or service is launched may be a little too late.
To keep the rewards of the possible next Angry Birds to yourself, the intellectual property protection should be in place before the launch as the proactive approach is cheaper and swifter than the reactive approach. The necessary steps to be taken depend on the type of protection sought.
The case is easiest with copyright as no action needs to be taken and the copyright protection is awarded immediately. In case of trademarks, patents, utility models and industrial designs, the process is a bit more complex.
However, the nuances of even the most complex procedures are far cheaper, swifter and easier to deal with than taking legal action against a copycat. As stated above, the legal monopoly status allows for more revenue as well, thus the proactive approach saves on the cost and allows for more income at the same time.
Here's a recap of why you should protect your intellectual property. Protecting your intellectual property:
Kati Pino is an Associate at Magnusson Law with a focus on Intellectual Property; Commercial; Corporate and M&A; EU and Competition.
Magnusson Law is a dynamic and modern international law firm that advises clients doing business in and across the Baltic Sea Region.