Intellectual property protection is a non-negotiable, but a high budget for IP is not.
Acquiring and maintaing protection for your intellectual property is key in propelling a business to greater heights. While this is generally understood by businesses, many still shy away from taking steps to gain legal protection over their money-making assets. Why? IP protection is often considered as an investment, but not a necessary one, due to the costs required to finance an IP portfolio. We are here to debunk the myth which associates IP protection with high financial costs – IP budgeting should not break the bank, only if it is done correctly. Here are three tips for better IP budget management:
Draft A Comprehensive IP Strategy
More often than not, an inflated IP budget is a result of prioritising too many things at once. For example, you may want to file multiple trademark applications at once for each and every aspect of your business eligible for trademark protection. As a result, initial costs can appear extremely high, which might put you off from right from the start. A comprehensive and clear IP strategy that directly benefits a focused business objective should be defined at the very beginning. This is to determine which assets should be prioritisised and thus protected ASAP, and in turn, other assets will need to take a back seat momentarily to keep your IP budget manageable. Prioritise the protection of select assets in order to keep initial IP costs low, especially if you are seeking to file applications internationally.
Conduct A Search Prior to Application
Prior to filing an application, it is beneficial to determine if your assets are novel or idiosyncratic in comparison to the other offerings on the market. You may not have heard of a brand or invention but it can still exist! Should your product, design or invention be highly similar or similar to a competitor’s, you will not be granted IP protection as your asset does not meet the requirement of distinguishable from other goods and services or having novelty. Filing an application without prior search can bring on excess costs, specifically when faced with objections, potential infringements or licensing from a third party. Filing a new, modified application will also incur extra costs. Conduct a thorough search, either on your own or with the help of a professional, on both existing and previously protected IPs to avoid wasting financial resources.
Audit Your IP Portfolio
Establish a protocol that will see you and your team regularly auditing your intellectual property portfolio. Many businesses fail to maintain their IP beyond the initial filing and registration stages, and as a result are hit with higher fees due to late renewals, accidentally infringing upon a third party’s rights or losing protection over their assets all together. Consider late fines, legal battles or filing an application all over again – not only are these time consuming, but the consequences associated are also unneccessary costs that could damage your IP budget. Routinely review your IP portfolio to determine which assets need maximising, maintenance or if it no longer contributes to the overall objectives of the business. These insights will help you make firm decisions in filing, licensing and renewing either new or existing IPs, which will result in a cleaner budget due to minimised budget waste.
It is important to be diligent in managing your IP budget, but do keep in mind that costs in IP aren’t always fixed. Therefore, make room for unexpected costs and conserve your budget whenever possible. Remember to use every decision to your advantage to help your IP portfolio prosper whilst keeping a lid on your IP budget.
Quality Oracle are proud of 29 years of professional experience in all areas Intellectual Property. Innovation is at the heart of our practice and we are ready to tackle your IP problems head-on. Anything, anytime, anywhere.