Is your intellectual property protected?

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Intellectual property rights are a key asset for any business. Intellectual property rights are a set of exclusive rights which are granted over a variety of intangible assets, such as musical, literary, and artistic works; discoveries and inventions; and words, phrases, symbols, and designs. The most common types of intellectual property rights include copyrights, trademarks, patents, industrial design rights and trade secrets.

Many companies fail to realise that an investment in intellectual property is merely a further investment in the product itself as many companies can profit from their innovative capacity as opposed to being exploited.

Protecting your intellectual property effectively can be fundamental to a businesses success.  However, there is the long standing belief and common knowledge that intellectual property protection can be expensive. Thus, many businesses face the challenge of balancing up the expenditure on protection against the ramifications of potential exploitation.

In the increasingly competitive economy, intellectual property is becoming a valuable business asset. New products, designs, processes and/or brand goodwill are appearing daily and now given the rise of the internet, product awareness has a far greater spread and at a much greater rate than in times gone by. However, the driving forces behind these new products, processes and designs are often small businesses which do not have the financial resources to protect their intellectual property from the outset as all moneys are generally going into the process or product itself.

Intellectual property registration not only records the ownership, it provides you with an exclusive legal right to promote your asset to its maximum commercial potential without the risk of exploitation. Although there may be no value in intellectual property at the start, this can quickly change. Intellectual property can provide a company with a competitive edge and enable it to position itself as a niche within a market place.

In summary, intellectual property protection merely enhances market value and future profitability by eliminating competitors. It can form an essential aspect of a company as the assets and general knowledge of the company may become worthless if exposed to potential exploitation.  Whether or not to protect IP rights is a commercial decision and there must be a balance between the costs of protecting that position and the potential returns as a result of that protection. By deciding ahead of time as to whether or not to protect your intellectual property you are better placed in the market when your product succeeds.

To discuss whether you have intellectual property that should be protected, or to start the process of ensuring you are protected, contact one of our intellectual property lawyers, by phone on 09 836 0939 or email partners@smithpartners.co.nz