Intellectual Property (“IP”) protection is necessary for any business to flourish. The following list enumerates IP and other intangible assets that may be associated with a business – Patents, Trademarks, Domain names, Copyright, Industrial Design registration, Franchises, Licenses, Distribution Agreements, Newspaper Mastheads/Publishing Rights, Secret Processes and Formulas, Information Databases, including client lists, Computer Systems Software and Core Technology.

The value of the IP assets increase or decrease depending on how the business is progressing. The optimisation of IP protection for business may involve using trade secrets and confidentiality agreements together with registered rights such as Trademarks and Designs. Confidentiality agreements are recommended for those who have knowledge of the secret.

Registration of rights is essential in case of a business which obtains a Patent or Design. One may also opt for keeping the details of an invention secret and decide not to apply for a patent. Protection of IP by these means is known as a trade secret.

The points to be considered for developing an IP strategy of a business are as follows:

  1. Beware of the existing Patents, Trademarks and Designs to ensure that the new Patent or Trademark applied for, does not infringe the rights of others. Research may also reveal the competition and challenges for the business from competitors.
  2. Weighing the risks and the benefits of registering or not registering a right. This may help the business to decide whether it wants to apply for a Patent or protect the IP through a trade secret.
  3. Developing strategy regarding infringement and IP insurance.
  4. Business Enterprises should educate their staff regarding their obligations. In case it is necessary, confidentiality agreements should be signed.
  5. Image building and brand building surrounding an existing Trademark of a business should be given importance.

The issues relating to IP are complex and professional help should always be sought in impugned matters.

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