Are you a creator or an entrepreneur? Perhaps you’ve just started a new business. It’s an exciting time, but it isn’t always easy to identify the most critical tasks that you need to accomplish.
Choosing the proper entity and getting registered with the state certainly are crucial. However, your new venture may benefit just as much from identifying your intellectual property assets and how to protect them.
Your intellectual property, otherwise known as IP, may consist of things like your company’s name and logo as well as the new product that you’re launching. Maybe you have written some brand-new and revolutionary computer code or composed a piece of music.
Regardless of what you have created, chances are good that it could be considered IP, and that means that you’ll want to think about whether or not it makes sense to formally protect that IP with the US Patent and Trademark Office.
If you are new to the world of IP, then it definitely is wise to find an experienced guide. An intellectual property attorney can provide you with the support and advice you need. However, if you’re wondering if what you’ve created could even be considered intellectual property, then you may need a more basic place to start.
A New Online Tool for Innovators
Most countries have a government department that’s in charge of handling patent and trademark applications within its borders. In America, this department is known as the US Patent and Trademark Office, or USPTO.
The USPTO provides a variety of online tools and resources through which it is possible to search and file patent and trademark applications, communicate with examining attorneys and more. While some of these tools and resources are fairly user-friendly, many of them are intended for use by intellectual property attorneys and other legal professionals who have a significant level of experience in this area.
Recently, the USPTO announced the launch of a new online resource called the Intellectual Property (IP) Identifier. What sets this tool apart from many of the others on the USPTO website is that it is purpose built for people who don’t have extensive experience with IP.
In fact, it isn’t necessary to know the difference between a patent and a trademark because the Intellectual Property Identifier takes you step-by-step through the process of deciding what kind of IP you have and how to protect it.
Additionally, this innovative virtual resource provides approachable information regarding the various forms of intellectual property protection and how each might be advantageous for a business or an individual to pursue.
The IP Identifier in Detail
Currently, the IP Identifier consists of two main modules. These are the Basic IP Identifier and the Advanced IP Identifier. Users move through the Basic module by answering just a half dozen questions. This helps the user to identify their IP and how to protect it.
The Advanced module takes things a few steps further by providing information to users about their IP. Links to additional resources are provided. These resources include instructions for how to file an application to protect IP.
The USPTO plans to launch a third module in the future about managing IP assets.
Why Use the Identifier and Protect Your IP?
Many inventors and entrepreneurs who are new to the world of IP feel a little overwhelmed when it’s suggested that they should seek patent protection. In fact, some innovators put off filing applications with the USPTO until it’s too late. Frequently, this means that someone else has already filed a patent application for similar technology, which can make it difficult or even impossible for anyone else to obtain meaningful protection.
According to the USPTO, protecting intellectual property “is a smart and necessary business strategy” that is of tangible benefit to organizations. A first patent may be used as collateral, which is known to increase capital funding by as much as 76-percent in a three-year period. Obtaining a first patent additionally has been known to increase initial public offering funding by as much as 128-percent.
Most entrepreneurs also don’t realize that having protected IP can be a powerful tool for recruiting. Statistics suggest that the approval of an initial patent application may lead to 36-percent employee growth over a five-year period. Market share similarly can increase. Studies concluded that startups that have a patent tend to increase sales 80-percent more than companies that have no protected IP.
Ready to Start Your IP Journey?
At Williams IP Law, we help entrepreneurs of every size and description obtain the IP protection that they need. While we provide support to large companies, we also are dedicated to helping startups and individual inventors learn more about intellectual property and how they can protect their most valuable assets.
Schedule a free consultation today with a legal professional at Williams IP Law.