It is important to protect your intellectual property from the very start of a new venture because such not only secures your business in terms of attracting investment (important for most startups), it can also add value to your company. Securing your business gives investors confidence that there is a degree of exclusivity which can go some way to provide reassurance that they will recoup back their investment, and hopefully - if all goes well - the venture will make a profit. It also shows that you have done your home-work, and know what they value most. Further, IP rights are intangible assets which are being increasingly recognised on the balance sheets of many innovative companies. These assets can be monetised (whether through licensing or critically - when selling the business or a part thereof). IP assets can also be used in securitisation when raising finance.
The company name or brands which you anticipate to use on products should be protected by trade marks and their associated domain names secured as soon as possible. Before any company is incorporated a professional trade mark search should be commissioned to ensure that the proposed name is available for registration as a trade mark. This prevents the scenario whereby a startup incorporates a company only to find that another trader in your industry already holds rights to a trade mark that is identical or confusingly similar to the company name. Unfortunately this scenario happens quite frequently, and our duty to you as our client is to prevent such kinds of things from happening.
Advice should also be sought on filing patent applications. This is important if your business manufactures, designs or develops it's own products. Please note that any information that could be the subject of a patent application must not be disclosed publicly until after your Patent Attorney has filed an application protecting it. Design applications can be filed to protect the look or external appearance of your products.
In the UK, there is no legal instrument for registration and protection of Confidential Information such as Know-how, formulas, drawings, procedures and suchlike. But they can be protectable using contracts, and secure demarcation and classification of such information within an organisation. Please refer to the Confidential Information section of our website for more information.
Franks & Co has experience of working with startups to ensure that the strongest possible protections are in place at the outset of your business. Our company offers cost effective and transparent IP services because we understand the pertinent needs of businesses and are client-focussed to help you succeed. Further, most of our customers are SMEs and so we place immense value in helping them grow and be more profitable.
Call us on 0161 820 2891 or email us here, if you have an IP related issue you would like help with.