From start-up to market – the importance of IP along the way

Frances Salisbury discusses IP protection and why it is important to enforce it against potential infringers…

For larger businesses, a key reason to protect IP is to enforce it against potential infringers. When you put a product onto the market, you give your competitors the opportunity to analyse it, and potentially to produce their own. As they don’t have to undertake their own expensive and lengthy research and development process, they may be able to undercut you, benefiting from your technology, market, and reputation. A robust IP portfolio offers the chance to fight back, and demarcate your exclusive rights to a technology.

Enforcement, however, tends to be costly, and so may not be a suitable strategy for a start-up. IP can act as a deterrent against competitors entering the market, but there are other advantages too.

A key reason for having IP rights is to attract investors. Whilst a start-up might not be in a position to enforce an IP right against an infringer now, investors will want to see that the IP is in place to do so in the future, to protect their investment.

Tomorrow… IP position.