Should Startups Focus on IPR Laws? How Important is IP Protection for a Startup?
The emergence of an idea: When entrepreneurs draft business strategies they are often aloof from the intricacies of law, infringement and legal compliances. The prima facie focus in on how the venture must be shaped in order to scale into a flying unicorn, albeit breaking the norms for the mere purpose of achieving the targets and survival in the market. In order to protect your kernel of business ideas, IPR must be sought the very moment you start to pen down your ideas for projecting them into reality. This will not only prevent your competitors from stealing your ideas but will also protect your investors and resources against any third part appropriation.
IPR is broadly branched into Patents (inventions), Trademarks (words, symbols, names for identifying your product), Copyrights (literary & artistic domain), Geographical indicators and Trade secrets (recipes, strategies, business methods). In lieu of the current dynamic markets, a company’s USP (unique selling proposition) can be the differentiating indicator so as to create a sustainable demarcation for the product. Be it a unique idea, invention, process or method-IPR always comes into play. It is also handy when it comes to selling, licensing or entering into franchising agreements of your company in the future.
Often startups are constrained by a dearth of funds and hence it is important that they are constantly working to set aside funds so as to protect their brand value with IP. Entering into the domestic market for protection would be the first step for protection as International markets would be a costly affair and can be sought at a later stage during expansion. At present, businesses are constantly adapting to change, innovate and research. Redesigning, reconstruction, renovation of the product is important and that process needs to be protected by IP. For layman understanding, IPR is a tool in order to safeguard the uniqueness in ideas which are capable of performing.
Some of the current measures for IPR protection include Trade Related Aspects on Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS), World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO), UNICITRAL & UCO guidelines, Berne Convention etc.
It is vital for startups to not undermine the importance of IP. Failure to do so can affect the company’s long term survival rates. The Intellectual Property does not have to belong to one owner exclusively; it can belong to various people or to a business and can be sold or transferred. The aim of current business transactions is innovation and change which demands greater importance to IP. Successful entrepreneurs need to go lengths to scale the importance of IP to make sure that all their elements are under legal protection. Therefore, adhering to legal requirements is much of a necessity rather than a luxury and startups must make sure that they are up to date with all the necessary protection for future expansion and survival.