A step by step guide to intellectual property by www.own-it.org
STEP 1 – IDENTIFY YOUR INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY
·List any creative ‘assets’ – your intellectual property, from your logo and company name/brand, to your packaging design, products and software.
·Check your designs, expressed ideas and concepts and creative works are new and original.
STEP 3 – EXPLOIT YOUR INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY
Managing and exploiting your biggest asset, your IP, will help your business make more money – to do this you need to:
·Ensure any designs, trade marks and patents you register or apply for are the same as those you intend to market.
·Inform people that you have a registered design or trademark to increase your credibility and make people aware of your rights. For example, you should put your design rights number on any packaging and R if you have a registered trade mark.
·Maximise returns by licensing your rights either as a whole or separately to exploit your IP in different territories or different forms. – this way you hold onto your rights whilst making money from them.
·Charge an assignment fee if the client wants the rights, always seek external advice before assignment, re: fee and appropriateness of this decision.
·Licence your IP (either exclusively or non-exclusively). You can licence your rights exclusively to the licensee only, or non-exclusively to the licensee and anyone else you choose to licence to. You can licence reproduction or distribution rights, rental or lending rights. Consider what you are licensing (eg. Your trademark, copyright, design rights) in what format (exclusively or non-exclusively) and how long for (eg are the terms of the licence for a fixed term, perpetual or terminal) and finally, where in the world you are licensing to?
·Figure out whether you require royalties, licence fees or both. (Royalty payments generally vary between 4 and 14%, dependent on the type of creative work/industry).
·Negotiate fair terms. This is the period where you spend time bargaining to work out a deal. Next comes the contracting part, which involves formulating the details to create a binding agreement.
·Make sure you are given equitable renumeration for your work. For example if you produce sound recordings, you should be paid royalties by the MCPS PRS alliance. And, if you have written a book, you should receive lending royalties as well as royalties from your publisher.
·Use a Creative Commons licence if you want to control and share your IP. You can choose to allow reproductions of your work but not for commercial purposes or other methods of use, so some rights are reserved instead of all. Visit http://creativecommons.org for more information.
STEP 4 – ENFORCE YOUR INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY
Even the big boys can experience problems enforcing their IP. DVD piracy costs the film industry hugely, just as illegal music downloading costs the music industry. So how can you enforce your IP effectively?
·Monitor what competitors and new entrants to your market are doing. Get news alerts, subscribe to industry news, keep an eye on the patent.gov.uk site and pay attention to new trade marks being advertised. If any infringe yours you are able to contest them once they’ve been advertised.
·Send standard cease and desist letters if you find anyone infringing your IP rights. A lawyer can help draw up an effective letter to send out and advise you on the best course of action.