A startup has a huge checklist of things to address in the nascent stage. These vary from legalities, team-building, office space, product development, marketing, funding, finance, expansion etc. However, a very crucial and important aspect that is more than often overlooked is IP or Intellectual Property.
Having a disruptive idea, product or business proposition is generally not enough to secure a holding in the market that you are bound to enter. What is even more important is that you firmly secure and protect these ideas and processes, lest someone copies your idea and makes your product/service redundant or eats into your market share. It could be anyone – a trusted confidante, a foe or even your own employees!
There are many facets when it comes to IP protection for startups and the major hurdle is the cost it takes to file for Intellectual Properties. However, it is to be noted that holding IP’s is not only a way to safeguard your idea, but also a great way to gauge your position in a very competitive and dynamic startup battlefield.
Filing for IPs involves knowing if your idea, product or process has already been patented by anyone around the globe and if there needs to be any changes or modification made to your product or service to ensure you don’t violate someone else’s IP. This saves many startups from being crushed even before they can launch. Thus, even though it might involve some amount of capital to be invested, IPs are a great way of protecting your startup from unwanted litigations and uncertainties that can jeopardize the entire business in the future.
Apart from protection, Intellectual Properties are a great intangible asset to the startup as the protection of these ideas and processes will prevent competitors from emerging. Therefore, it is one of the key factors in securing funding for the startup. Investors are always interested in funding companies that have IPs with them as this gives them a sense of security about parking their money in a safe haven! Sometimes, companies even find ways of monetizing their IPs by licensing their processes or patented technologies to other companies to manufacture and market, and subsequently charge a royalty for the same.
Intellectual Properties can be protected broadly through three different methods (and more than often all three are used):