Protecting Your Intellectual Property, Products and Brand

The technology change curve continues to steepen, with an increasing number of entrepreneurs developing innovative processes, services and products. When you create and drive growth on a global basis, it’s imperative that you capture and protect your intellectual property (IP). In fact, how well you protect your intellectual property could ultimately be a major key to success.

So why do so many entrepreneurs fail to adequately protect the results of their creativity? It’s simple: Sometimes we forget to protect the intangible because we are so busy producing the tangible (the products or services we provide).

Protecting Value

Said another way, if your IP has value in the marketplace, then the monopoly IP protection provides will have a similar value times the length of the monopoly.

Three Types of Innovations You Must Protect (and Why):

1. Trade Secrets Are Your Competitive Advantages

Knowledge-based competitive advantages like trade secrets are best protected by documents such as confidentiality agreements and employee contracts. In the food industry, secret ingredients such as spices and herbs would be covered under a trade secret.

2. Patents Protect Your Concepts + Functions

If the advantage of your product is its function, the best way to protect it is with a patent or design registration. Patents can protect concepts, including software and business plans. The distilling process for a beverage could also be covered by a patent.

3. Trademarks Allow You to Own Your Brand

If the look of the product is your advantage, you should get a design registration that protects shapes and patterns. Brands, including words, shapes, sounds, logos and colors, can be protected with a trademark.

Overlap in IP Types

How to Mine Your IP

Dell and other companies of different sizes have successfully cross-licensed their patents to create new income streams. In Dell’s case, it cross-licensed its built-to-order process to IBM for $16 billion. As with the IBM example, and now the Dell example above, much smaller companies, including entrepreneurships, can adopt a cross-licensing strategy like this to accelerate growth. Your protected IP can also be marketed in a similar way to either a complementary market or an entirely different industry.

Start with an IP Strategy

Protect Your IP From Cyber Risks

Anticipatory Organization Book

Use the tenets found in my new bestseller, “The Anticipatory Organization: Turn Disruption and Change Into Opportunity and Advantage,” to help guide you to create the game-changing innovations that will be in high demand in the future.

The opportunity to both create and protect IP has never been greater. The time to start is today.

#1 Bestselling Author, Global Futurist, Innovation Expert and Keynote Speaker. One of the World’s Leading Futurists on Global Trends and Innovation.