Too often ideas with huge potential from sole inventors and startups in tech are shelved because the costs of implementing them are just too high. Sometimes, the hurdles are too high to overcome, but often, ideas are dropped prematurely because startups just don’t realise there is another path to monetizing their creation: intellectual property (IP).
Many companies see IP as nothing more than a costly way to protect their inventions. Frequent news about companies suing one another for infringement gives us a distorted view of the value and purpose of patents, trademarks and copyright. IP can, in fact, be a valuable tool for startups and lone inventors wanting to monetize inventions, especially if they can’t bring them to market themselves.
Without IP, a startup or inventor has an idea and nothing more. Without protection ideas can be easily replicated or could already exist in the market. A patent transforms an idea into a tangible asset, giving evidence to potential buyers that it is inventive. In terms of maximising the commercial potential of your idea, a tangible asset such as a patent application has huge value for a startup.
Startups must focus on keeping costs to a minimum, for obvious reasons, while maximising their opportunities. Many are wary of the cost of a patent, there are some ways to keep costs to a minimum.
Most importantly, startups don’t need to file for the patent in every region they operate in, they only need to file nationally, at least not for the first year. This also works in the favour of startups looking to scale up, who can use their year with a national patent to secure investment, then use that funding to pay for global expansion.
IP is not just insurance against someone nicking your idea. In fact, it’s a superb tool for any startup, demonstrating tangible value and should not be underestimated.