Business Strategy

3 Ways Startup Founders Can Protect Your Intellectual Property

You've got a great idea, and you believe it's going to revolutionize the industry. At this point, however, your idea isn't protected, at least not until it's recognized as your intellectual property. Till then, you're at risk.

You've got a great idea, and you believe it's going to revolutionize the industry. At this point, however, your idea isn't protected, at least not until it's recognized as your intellectual property. Till then, you're at risk.
 
So what do you look out for when your start-up is ready to begin applying for IPs?
 
StartUp Calgary recently published the 3 intellectual property issues that start-up founders should avoid.

1.    Due Diligence

There's a high chance that your business is going to build a strategy around a name. Always check if your start-up's name has already been used, or if a product with a similar name to yours is already in use. A simple Google search may suffice, but contacting the Intellectual Property Department of the HKSAR Government can be a great help too.
 
2.    Establish your IP rights early on

‘There's no time like the present' – and this saying is true, even for IP laws. The early stages of your start-up's life may be centered on refining ideas and brainstorming sessions. It's advisable for founders to work out the rights that people have to the business idea as early on as possible. That includes all co-founders, employees and even mentors that may help to contribute to building the idea. While it may be difficult to accept, the idea of employees or co-founders leaving the company in the future is a very real one. Without the presence of prior non-disclosure agreements, you run the risk of having your business idea being brought into another company and replicated.  
 
3.    Avoid public disclosure

To apply for a patent, your idea or invention must be novel, non-obvious and have a practical application. The Intellectual Property Department of the HKSAR Government website  has more information on the various types of IPs available in Hong Kong. This point emphasizes the importance of prior agreements, ensuring that all employees and friends keep the idea under wraps until you decide that applying for an IP will be beneficial to the company. Even a Facebook status can jeopardize your chances at getting a your IP approved.

 

Published Date: 11 August 2014

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