As a start-up company, one of the primary goals is to be competitive in the marketplace. If a start-up does not have any competitive edge that pushes it past the competition, it will most likely not succeed. This is especially true in the current marketplace, as the Internet provides customers with access to stores they may not have had access to otherwise. In light of this, any competitive edge that a start-up business can have is one that it needs. Sometimes, this advantage can come by way of intellectual property. Read on to find out what intellectual property is, how it can help your business and how to protect it.

What is Intellectual Property?

According to Vikram Upadhyaya’s article in Entrepreneur, intellectual property can be a variety of things that define your company. This could include a unique idea or concept, products, and logos, or certain processes that are unique to your business. Essentially, intellectual property is something unique to your company that can give you a potential edge in the marketplace. Though Upadhyaya explains in his article that intellectual property may not always be a priority for start-ups, it perhaps should be.

 

How is Intellectual Property Useful for Business

As is related to the article linked above, any start-up that relies on innovations for success, such as tech companies, should look into protecting their IP (intellectual property). New products and processes are being made almost daily, especially in the tech industry. By protecting your IP, you can make sure that your IP is not “taken” already by another company, and can save you from doing a lot of unnecessary work. In addition to this, Upadhyaya explains that investors and clients like seeing that your IP is protected. This way they know that if they can invest with you, as your business has room to grow through its IP. In other words, by protecting your company’s IP you not only protect yourself but you also help give potential investors and clients confidence to invest in your start-up.

 

How to Protect Intellectual Property

According to Richard Harroch’s article in Forbes, there are a variety of ways to protect your intellectual property. Options include patents, copyrights, trademarks and trade secrets, to name a few. By having this range of protection options, you can better protect your ideas and products, as well as other distinct kinds of IP that may not fit only one category. For example, if you have a unique logo for your company that helps your business genuinely stand out, you may want to get your logo trademarked. According to Dozmia, “Trademarks protect a distinctive word, phrase, symbol, or design used to distinctively identify a product or service. So, trademarks identify your brand, and you can protect your logo or name by acquiring the associated trademark rights.”

Think about it; so many of the brand’s customers know best are instantly recognizable by their logos. This can include a variety of different types of companies as well, from restaurants, such as McDonald’s, to shopping centers, such as Target. As these examples illustrate, the connection between a company and its logo can be a powerful one. By trademarking your logo, you can help protect that connection from any who would try to use your unique logo.

 

Overall, intellectual property is essential. IP can range anywhere from tangible items such as a product or logo, to intangible items, such as unique ideas or trade secrets. When it comes down to it, intellectual property is what makes your company unique, thus hopefully giving you an edge. As a start-up, having a unique advantage can play a vital part in your business performing well in the marketplace. Because of this, if you are running a start-up company, you should consider protecting your IP. Protecting your IP will hopefully mean safeguarding your competitive edge and can provide a base to build on.