Intellectual Property IS Business
A few months ago I met the CEO of a local business who had a couple of ideas he wanted to protect and he had some questions about trademarks. During the course of our meeting I found out that his company is the world wide industry leader in his space and he has never sought protection for his most valuable trademarks and had never sought patent protection for many of his most valuable technical innovations. His business earns millions of dollars every year. He was stunned to find out what he had overlooked, like the accident survivor who steps out of the ruined car and surveys the destruction they miraculously survived. This business narrowly avoided business catastrophe and we are now putting the necessary protections in place.
Intellectual property (patents, trademarks and copyrights) are the product of human intellect and are at the core of every business, not just the current tech leaders, Apple, Google and Facebook. Every small business has proprietary techniques that give them an edge in the marketplace, they have logos, trademarks (whether they have filed to protect them or not) documentation and customer lists that are the core assets of their business. Many small businesses even have their own technology that may be protectable. The key concept is perception. If you or your competitors believe you have a valuable asset, it is a valuable asset.
The legal field of Intellectual Property law provides a wealth of tools and strategies for identifying and protecting the core assets of every small business. Unfortunately, many businesses are so busy trying to stay in business they overlook a key step in staying in business, protecting your most important assets. In many cases obtaining protection for these key assets is not outrageously expensive or time consuming.
We are all told to visit the dentist twice a year for checkups and teeth cleaning. Businesses would do well to follow this advice with respect to their most valuable assets, schedule time for your IP professional to review your business to identify, protect and help you improve the monetization of your Intellectual property assets.