Whether you are a big or a small business entity, a major global leader or an innovation start-up, your best original ideas are your lifeblood and an asset that will determine your businessesโ€™ future viability. Without intellectual property protection, a business of any size runs the risk of losing its most important asset as you will be at risk of having your unique ideas, products and services infringed upon. When you have a great idea, competitors would want to copy you or at worse, shut you down and you will need the help of your IP lawyer to prevent or deter others from doing just that.

At every stage of the IP lifecyle, your IP lawyer can provide legal protection necessary to enable you to utilize your intellectual property. The invention stage and R&D stage is the most critical stage where your intellectual property is at its most vulnerable. At this stage, you need a trusted IP lawyer whom you can confide and perform patent search and Freedom to Operate clearance for you. It is critical for you not to reveal your invention to anyone else and it is essential to ensure that your invention has novelty to avoid risks of facing infringement and invalidation lawsuits in the future. When a company is planning to develop and commercialize a new product, a major risk you want to avoid is being blocked by a competitor who holds a patent on the technology incorporated in your product. It is best to clear obstacles at this before proceeding in vain and your IP lawyer is equipped to secure your FTO and provide you options to clear obstacles, if any. It is also at this stage where you decide whether to patent your invention or keep it a trade secret and the advice of an IP lawyer becomes critical at this stage. Once you decide to pursue Patent registration, your IP lawyer is the best person to draft your application. As inventor you are the technical expert of your invention but patent drafting and preparation of your patent application is best delegated to your IP lawyer as he/she is equipped with the knowledge of IP law, rules and procedures and the conduct of proceedings with the IPO.

At the production to commercialization/distribution phase, copyright and trademark protection becomes critical. Now that you have protection over your invention, protecting your brand is equally important and must never be overlooked. You may have a blockbuster product but if your branding and image suffers, you are destined to fail. From a branding perspective, logos, names, taglines, commercial jingles, packaging and even your business name are assets that can have trademark protection. As the protection granted gives the owner exclusivity in its utilization, it is crucial for a thorough trademark search be made first to ensure you are not committing infringement that would make you vulnerable to lawsuits. At the same, these assets may be further protected by copyright, a form of protection granted to authors/creators of literary and artistic works providing them exclusivity in its commercial utilization.

More importantly, it is necessary for you to have an IP lawyer to assist you as you pursue the utilization of your IP assets, either through litigation or licensing agreements.