2 minute read

business

What is intellectual property (IP) and why does it matter to your business?

Most people have some vague knowledge of what trademarks, copyright and patents are; but few can explain the difference between these and fewer still can explain why they are important to business value.

Some people refer to IP as creations of the mind - hence the use of the word intellectual. The key however is the word property - I doubt very much that you leave the door to your house wide open when you go out for the day, so why then leave your intellectual property open to copying, mimicking or even theft?!

IP can incorporate your logo or catchphrase; your blog; video; design; software; algorithms; innovation; your client list or pricing; even some trade-craft knowledge as to how to do something more efficiently, etc.

Intellectual property encompasses all things Brand, Reputation, Innovation and Knowledge; for most businesses these aspects have been hard earned and acquired over many years, with not insignificant financial investment.

IP is too expensive to ignore but it does not have to cost the earth. Some IP rights are free to use for example unregistered rights like copyright and trade secrets; but also branding via social media, which can be a good and fast way to establish a brand in a marketplace.

IP can be licensed. We are all used to paying copyright license fees for example to access music, books and movies, usually via a platform. I once knew a man who sold his comedy club business but retained the rights and generated good income for many subsequent years by licensing the brand name to the various new owners. The most commonly licensed forms of IP are copyright; brand names (trademarks including digital aspects: domains, websites, social media); patents; designs and even trade secrets.

IP can also be used to develop value in partnerships, BD and for investors.

First you need to identify your IP, then make sure it is protected and finally that you are developing value in your business with it.

You will have intellectual property in your business. The key is to know what makes your business unique and stand out from the rest, finally to know how you can best defend that uniqueness.

John Pryor

E: john@exaltip.com P: +44 7587 885 131

www.exaltip.com

First you need to identify your IP, then make sure it is protected and finally that you are developing value in your business with it.