I recently read an insightful and catchy confessional article by a product designer in RedShift: https://redshift.autodesk.com/small-business-tips-product-designer-confessions-part-1/. It struck me how each of the lessons she raised from a business point of view has its parallel from an intellectual property and legal point of view. So, I thought in today’s post, I would map out those IP related tips to round out the sharing of insights from one entrepreneur to another.
- Do Your IP Homework Before You Launch – As much as you need to know the ins and outs of launching a crowdfunding campaign, or working with the manufacturing cycle that supports a product sales cycle, you also need to know what intellectual property issues to consider before you put a product into circulation. Certain intellectual property rights that can give your product a competitive edge in the market place require that you take steps to secure those rights before you do the big reveal (e.g. patents and industrial designs). Among other things, taking steps to register IP rights before you launch a product can deter the making of copycat goods and give you access to border control remedies to prevent counterfeit product from entering into circulation.
- Every New Solution Should Trigger an IP Evaluation – So you know your shiny new product is one of a kind and deserves some attention from an IP standpoint, but what about all of those tricks of the trade that make production easier, packaging snazzier and distribution more efficient? Having a 360 IP view of these processes and product branding tools offers you more opportunity to structure your business so that you can keep your price points down and present your product to capture the heart and minds of customers. Whenever you tell your customers that you have a proprietary process that allows you to put less stress on the planet, or offer packaging that doubles as a handy tool to get the best use from your product, there is innovation there to evaluate for its IP value to your business.
- Be Sure Your Partners Understand and Value IP – If a manufacturer who makes 25 cent souvenirs is not a good fit for making your high end home product line, then neither is a manufacturer who does not bring into the equation a discussion or contractual terms to address how you will manage IP rights between you. Partners who do not pay attention to IP rights as part of their up-front business dealings are less likely to have robust systems in place to prevent your CAD drawings (or blueprints as they used to call them in my previous lifetime), end-up in the wrong hands. One way to gauge their sophistication and attitude towards the IP rights of their partners is indeed to meet them and to start-off the business discussion with a request for a non-disclosure agreement. Observing the response you get can tell you whether there is an alignment of business values to merit taking the discussion to the next level.
The moral of this story, is that for every business consideration, there is a parallel IP and legal consideration, and while they may not always be easy to recognize it is worth the effort to look into with everything else.
Ariadni Athanassiadis is the lead attorney of Kyma Professional Corporation, which provides intellectual property (IP) legal services to help your business develop and benefit from the creative efforts and assets that make it distinctive. Whether it is your brand, product, services, designs, technology or business processes, Ariadni can help design IP legal solutions which let you make the most of what you give to your business.
Kyma Professional Corporation