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The diversity of innovative ideas and business concepts at this year's Digital Top 50 awards was absolutely impressive. This is yet another reminder that intangible assets for startups, especially those of them that operate in the digital industry, are usually the most valuable ones. 

And this is where intellectual property rights (IP) come into focus. Intellectual property rights protect intangible assets from illegal use and give the creator of intellectual property a competitive advantage. However, protecting intellectual property rights can be a daunting task. Why? Because different IP rights protect different things (e.g. protecting patents on new technical inventions, protecting trademarks, protecting 3D visualizations, protecting sounds, etc.).

IP rights must be registered and meet certain requirements. You can also get copyright protection, which means protection without registration (automatically) on literary, musical and visual works, and program code. And some things, such as ideas, know-how and critical technical and business information, are best kept confidential and protected as trade secrets.

Finding the right approach to intellectual property is difficult, because new technologies, such as artificial intelligence, do not easily fit into the established scheme of things.

Therefore, developing new strategies aimed at protecting intellectual property, know-how and data on intangible assets is becoming absolutely crucial.

  • Knowing Your Business and think about IP at an early stage.

Identifying and classifying the most valuable intangible assets is important. However, understanding how you can best protect them is even more important. Protection of innovative products involves various methods, so you need to evaluate which one is better for you.

  • Keep an Eye on the Competition

Patents, utility models, design rights, and trademarks are only available if there were no conflicting rights previously. Therefore, you need to check the market for previous rights before registering intellectual property rights. Even after registering IP rights, you must keep an eye on the market (possibly with the help of professional watch services) in order to identify potential intruders.

  • Each IP Right Begins With a Secret

Existing laws on trade secrets set high standards but they also require companies to adequately protect intellectual property. Therefore, it is necessary to maintain the confidentiality of all ideas / information regarding inventions and new concepts.

Protecting innovation involves requiring employees to sign non-disclosure agreements. Physical, technological and organizational measures, such as restricting access, creating black box groups, introducing a firewall and encryption technology, and training personnel, should also be taken. 

We also advise you to get qualified help with developing an IP policy by hiring IQ Decision UK specialists.

  • Always Keep Data in Mind 

For many innovative enterprises, creating and processing data lies at the core of their business model. However, data cannot be protected by intellectual property rights, so contractual guarantees are key as well. You must also comply with data protection laws when dealing with personal information.

  • It's All About Documentation.

To protect yourself from 3rd party claims and theft of know-how, you must carefully document your innovations. In the event of a dispute, you will need proof of ownership, integrity and priority of IP and know-how, which, in turn, should increase your chances of a positive result.

Need help resolving IP disputes? IQ Decision UK closely monitors the latest developments in IP, data and digital technology, providing its clients with legal advice on the opportunities and risks associated with digitization. Protecting existing registered and unregistered intellectual property rights is what we do best.