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IP strategies for strengthening your new idea

Often the biggest problem for building a business around a new idea or invention is not coming up with the initial concept but developing a strategy that enables it to flourish in the marketplace. Once an inventor has the idea, need to consider the landscape in the project’s category at large, business objectives of licensees, who investors will be and their objectives, as well as wooing potential customers or buyers.

Different concepts have different needs -- licensing needs an agreement drafted from a position of strength, while startups look to align business objectives with those of investors -- but here are eight strategies that can help it flourish:

  1. File several provisional patent applications: These should cover the product and the innovation, including manufacturing techniques.
  2. Understand previous innovations in your area: Knowing history avoids repeating it, and refining an idea may be a path to success.
  3. File more provisional patent applications: Do this as the invention improves, and various iterations evolve.
  4. Think international: IP registration in other countries provides additional value to licensees.
  5. Do not forget about design: Business and innovation are important, but the design is also crucial to combat infringers, particularly those online.
  6. Copyrights: These provide real muscle for any infringement fight. Copyrighted images enable you to provide proof to online retailers that someone has infringed, thus preventing unknowing consumers from supporting the counterfeit products.
  7. Trademarks round out a portfolio: This focuses on brand, which may be appealing to potential partners, and protects against infringers.
  8. Protect trade secrets: Trade secrets can involve patterns, formulas, programs, devices, methods, or anything used in a business that gives an economic advantage.

The details can be challenging

A knowledgeable IP attorney can help an inventor with a product or idea to strategically build their patent portfolio. Doing this improves the chances for initial success and later takes away risk as licensees and investors enter the picture.

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