Know when to grow: using intellectual property and exploring market potential
Jeremy O'Hare Julie Simpkin
Jeremy O’Hare and Julie Simpkin are Relationship Managers for the new Innovating for Growth programme at the Business & IP Centre.
They both gave a presentation at Business 2012 on 20 March 2012 which explained your Intellectual Property (IP) options when it comes to expanding into a new product or service. It also highlighted some helpful research resources and guides you can use at the Centre.
If you missed the seminar, here are some of the key points:
Your IP should be tailored to your needs. When you make the decision to grow your business it is important that you understand your IP:
Patents - invention is granted by the government to the inventor, giving the inventor the right for a limited period to stop others from making, using or selling the invention without the permission of the inventor.
Trademarks - Name given to an invention, product or service which includes: words, logos, pictures, or a combination of these.
Registered Designs – The outward appearance of your product
Copyright - This can be used to protect literary or artistic authorship, and is automatic in Britain. Copyright does not need to be registered.
Trade Secrets – things which cannot easily be reverse engineered for example recipes (very difficult to protect with formal IP), manufacturing processes and contracts. There is some common law protection but it is safest to use a specific confidentiality/non-disclosure agreement.
Strong foundations are a must when looking to expand into new areas or grow your business with existing products or services. Entering a new market with an existing successful business model can also be also tough.
You need to be sure that your brand is strong enough in both markets and be aware that your needs may have changed. Knowing your product or service well is so important.
To do this successfully you need to fully understand the needs of your customer. Put yourself in their shoes: Who are they? What are they spending their money on at the moment? Have your customers changed? Do they need or even want your product or service. Market research will help you answer these questions and many more.
Always remember - You will need to police your IP. Nobody else will do it for you.
Mandy Haberman is the inventor of the Anywayup Cup...
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