If you own a small to medium-sized business/enterprise (SME), you know that it takes a lot of hard work and dedication to make your business successful. But what many business owners do not realize is that intellectual property (IP) rights can play a key role in helping grow their business.
A recent study from the European Patent Office demonstrated that businesses that have at least one IP right are 21 percent more likely to experience growth. Another study found that fewer than 9 percent of businesses owned at least one of the three main IP rights. To put this into perspective, the figure is close to 60 percent in large businesses. This reveals a shocking disparity in the use of such a valuable business tool.
Here are six ways IP can help your small to medium-sized business succeed.
Protecting Inventions: Patents
Patents are a great way for SMEs to protect their innovation. With patent rights, an SME can prevent others from using the patented invention in their products. An SME can license its technology to other organizations generating royalty revenue.
SMEs can also protect their innovative outputs ad other non-public information as trade secrets. Most countries, including the US, provide some form of legal protection for confidential information. This includes trade secrets.
Copyright and Creative Content
SMEs also need to consider how copyright protection can support their business. Copyrighting allows the owner to prevent others from copying relevant works without permission. Copyrights cover a broad range of original creations. These include computer software and promotional materials.
Trademarks and Branding
Marketing teams play an integral role in helping SMEs establish a brand. Trademarks are at the core of any branding program. They help create brand loyalty and differentiate businesses from the competition. Trademarks also help build a commercial reputation for quality products and services.
Design is a key determinant of the commercial success of any product. Good design adds market value to a product and makes it stand out in the crowd. SMEs can protect their investment in design with design rights, also known as design patents. Design rights protect the decorative aspects of a product including shape, form, and color.
In most cases, it is the SME’s responsibility to tackle any abuse of its rights. What are the options? If it is clear that IP rights have been infringed, the SME may actually be able to turn the situation into a new business opportunity. How? By negotiating a licensing agreement. Or, the company can enforce its rights in court with an IP lawyer.
If you are looking for ways to help your business grow, it might be worth considering how IP can play a role. Luckily, Pearson IP is here to help. Our team of experienced lawyers can work with you to identify and protect your most valuable assets.