Many entrepreneurs or inventors churn out ideas so quickly that it is hard for a team or partner to keep up. Nevertheless, while ideas with potential can inspire or motivate, the real challenge comes when it is time to grow a company and position the product in the market so it flourishes.
The goal is enabling the idea to grow with a healthy business plan that includes IP protection, identifying a market, wooing investors, or selling the start-up to begin anew on the next idea.
8 strategies for success
Different ideas have different needs, so there are many different approaches to fostering success:
- File provisional patent applications: These should cover the product, the innovation and any special manufacturing techniques.
- Building on others’ success: Knowing how others made successful products enables the new business to refine, update or improve upon those ideas.
- File more provisional applications: Do this as the idea comes into focus, improves or breaks into various iterations.
- International registration: Filing for additional IP protections outside the U.S. can increase the value of the project and ideally deter infringement.
- Don’t forget design patents: This can help provide a strong defense against copycat infringers.
- Register copyrights: These protect computer software and architecture as well as songs, writing or images. This enables licensees to provide proof when they notify Amazon or other merchants that the copycat is an infringer or a counterfeiter. It also protects holders from significant losses by activating automatic damages.
- File trademarks: Businesses can round out their IP portfolio by trademarking identifiable branding. This is particularly useful with online infringers.
- Protect trade secrets: Trade secrets are anything (formulas, patterns, devices, programs, etc.) that gives a business an economic advantage.
Detail and follow-through
Start-ups or small businesses can find many excuses for ignoring IP matters, but following through on the IP protections enables them to protect products and profitability. This is especially important as investors, partners or buyers become involved.