Last blog, we covered the first two steps for protecting your IP. In this second installment of a two-part series, we describe the next three critical action steps to take to protect your IP.
3. Assure your IP is unique or adds value to an already-existing product: Research your industry to assure that putting your IP on the market won’t violate any patent or copyright laws. Also note that when you do establish your patent, trademark, or copyright, it’s only valid in the U.S. Consult an IP attorney for further information about this topic.
4. Work with an IP attorney from the beginning: Have you ever tackled a complicated home improvement project that went terribly wrong? Following the debacle, you hire a professional contractor to make it right. Now, the entire project has ended up costing you double what it would have had you hired the contractor in the first place. This holds true for the IP process. Working with an IP attorney from the beginning not only saves you time and money, but helps manage your expectations. Search for an IP attorney who specializes in the particular type of protection you seek. When meeting the attorney for the first time, bring your research and questions mentioned in Step 1, get a process timeline and all costs up front as much as possible, so there are no surprises.
5. Create a budget: This is the one step, that if not managed, can stop your invention dead in its tracks, yet many inventors fail to take it into account. Be prepared to invest thousands in your project from start to finish. Your budget should also include any insurance premiums for liability coverage for claims that may arise as a result of the public’s use of your invention. It’s crucial you know what your potential loss exposure is and to plan for any contingencies. If you need financial assistance for your venture, there are means available to help you meet your budget.
Next time, we’ll discuss one of these means – capital venture firms.