Frequently Asked Questions

Intellectual property is an asset just like your home, your car, or your bank account and there are ways to protect and profit from intellectual property by using a patent, trademark, or copyright. Intellectual property assets are legal intangibles that generate legal property rights defensible in a court of law.
REVENUE

(1) Revenue streams: proper licensing of the use of Intellectual Property assets by third parties will provide ongoing revenue to help maximize a business’s return on investment in Intellectual Property.

(2) IPOs and business sales: an effective and properly protected Intellectual Property portfolio is now essential in any IPO and can significantly increase the value of your business on its sale.

(3) Independent value: an Intellectual Property asset can have its own independent value and be sold by itself. It is estimated that the Coca-Cola ribbon trade mark is itself worth US$1 billion.

(4) Finance security: commonly used overseas and becoming more popular in Australia, Intellectual Property assets are used as security in financing transactions for businesses.

RIGHTS

(1) Properly protected Intellectual Property helps to preserve the fruits and labor of research and development.

(2) The rights conferred from properly protected Intellectual Property help to fight against:

(a) patent infringement – piracy: the unauthorized reproduction, use, or imitation of an invention, creation, or product with the objective of having the result pass as genuine;

(b) copyright infringement – the definition of which strains the statutory fabric by which copyright is codified as discussed later;

(c) product counterfeiting – branding goods with a mark identical to, or substantially indistinguishable from, a legally registered trademark where those goods are similar or identical to the product for which the trademark is registered (definition used in the proposed General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade International Anti-Counterfeiting Code);

(d) the unauthorized use of a trademark on a substantially non similar product;

(e) “passing off” – the use of a similar, but not identical, trademark on a substantially similar product, or the use of similar or identical packaging without the trademark.

COMPETITIVE ADVANTAGE

(1) The company can utilize its intellectual property to create a differentiation advantage over competitors and establish itself as an industry leader.

(2) The company can exclude others from practicing certain Intellectual Property. That is, patent and copyright rights are exclusive rights that provide legal monopolies for limited periods of time. A patent and copyright owner can exclude others from practicing the patented invention, or patented design, and from exercising any of the rights in the copyrighted works (e.g., reproduction, preparation of derivative works and distribution).

(3) The company can create a high value brand by establishing goodwill and quality with its intellectual property (e.g., trademarks), which will create a demand for licensing opportunities. (4) The company can license the Intellectual Property for economic growth.

The answer is most likely YES!

Intellectual Property is developed whenever creativity and imagination is used to: develop a new or improved product, process, method or design; develop or compile strategic information or data relating to manufacturing, marketing or sales; author literature, such as books, company or literature, software or a technical drawing; or coin a word, mark or symbol to identify the company as the source for certain products.

Actually, any idea or knowledge that you have which can help to solve people’s problems will be your intellectual property.

In the United States, patent protection for a utility invention (e.g., a product, process or method) or a design can be obtained by timely filing a patent application and successfully prosecuting that application to the grant of a patent.

Trademark protection arises through actual commercial use of the trademark. As with copyright protection, obtaining a complete set of rights in a trademark requires registration of the trademark.

Trade secret protection is governed by State-specific laws and such protection can exist if, among other things, the company makes reasonable efforts to maintain the secrecy of the trade secret.

In the United States, copyright protection exists when an original work is created. However, obtaining a complete set of rights in a copyrighted work requires registration of the work.

(1) Identify your Intellectual Property.

(2) Secure exclusive rights by obtaining proper protection.

(3) Exploit the competitive advantage(s) of the Intellectual Property.