IP, Intellectual Property, not to be confused with Internet Protocol, In Progress, Instrument Panel or a myriad of other interesting options, deserves your time simply because it creates value. Whether you’re registering a trademark, design right, patent, or relying on unregistered rights for copyright, intellectual property may feel intangible but is, really, worth hugging [social distance rules apart] on British IP Day.
Love your IP and it will love you right back.
If you’ve created a product and registered the trademark but not your design, it’s relatively easy (albeit unethical) for someone else to copy the idea and take it to market under another brand name. And if you’re new, haven’t made much noise around your original trademark/brand, how is the unsuspecting consumer to know that the product they have just fallen in love with, was created by someone else? You lose crucial sales as someone else makes merry with what should have come your way. However, if you had registered your design, and using this IP to prove your originality, you can take the infringing product offline, with the minimum of hassle, and seriously quickly. This means the space (and customers and revenues) are there for you to claim back. Result!
Looking further ahead, the brand is well known, products are flying off the [virtual] shelves and along comes the intrepid copy. If you have no trademark or design rights [or patent] registered, you‘ll have to fall back on copyright to fight for your rights, and perhaps your entire business. In this situation, copyright is a fabulous, useful asset but I wouldn’t want to be hanging my business’ future on it. With Registered Rights, you can, and should, use them in anger to stop sales of copycats and of counterfeits – if you are unlucky enough to have them. Online or offline. IP works to enable your business to thrive.
I haven’t given due credit here to patents, mostly due to the complexity and cost associated. They are wonderful things, patents: appropriate for many but not for others. However, taking the example above, if your invention is patentable and you don’t want to take it to market yourself, a patent may create the value you need to licence the product to someone else. Your IP attorney will be able to help with all of this … so if you don’t have one, befriend one soon!
With most new products launching online, your IP is more important than ever before. Not only is the world your oyster, but you’re its oyster too. If you are copied, once you know (see here for tips on monitoring for copycats) armed with your IP, you can take action, yourself, against the marketplace, social media platform or domain name, to have that link/product/page removed.
See other blogs (here) for step by step instructions for Amazon and eBay. You can prove your originality using your IP. And yes, anyone can file a complaint, on all reputable platforms, for an IP infringement. You do not need to be a rocket scientist. You do need to be passionate about your business, and your products, and not let someone else, who simply ripped off all your hard work, reap the rewards. You are the creator and the optimist. And SnapDragon is right here, by your side, to help with online monitoring and takedowns if required. Passionately defending creations, livelihoods and optimism.
Happy British IP Day one and all.