Why should you file for IP protection?

Dai Yoshida / November, 2018

Description

Dai Yoshida is the Founder and Attorney of BlackBelt Legal. After corporate gigs at GE, Blackrock, Sony and a big law firm, Dai Yoshida started his own legal practice.

In this video, Dai explains what IP can consist of, why it is important and why you have to actively protect it.

Video transcript:

Why should you file for IP protection?

IP consists of mainly three things; trademark, copyright, and patents. They are called IP because it stands for Intellectual Property. These are legally protected properties. You can use it for your own, you can let other people use it in the form of licensing, and you can also sell it if you wanted to.

IP is the only tangible asset that you can show to other people such as outside investors. You can come up with the business plan, vision, and big dream, but sometimes that has to be backed by something concrete and by having IP in a tangible form helps the business a lot especially if you’re talking to outside investors.

Trademark, copyright, and patents are all important assets, however, there are cost, business and time issues, so they have to be carefully balanced. However, the patent is probably the easiest tangible asset to appeal the company’s value to the outside investors and clients as well.

If you have to balance these three, my personal recommendation is to put the patent first. If you can identify tangible assets that can achieve the patent maybe that can be of a higher priority compared to other assets.

A trademark can be your company name, your company slogan that is unique enough to the point where the consumers, in general, can identify the service or product to you. When you see yellow M and say Mcdonald’s, the general public will associate that with Mcdonalds. If you change that to red and put a Z at the end and say we are different from Mcdonalds, we are McDonaldz, that doesn’t fly. It is very important that if you have enough consumer basis which identifies and associates your brand to the logo or a trade dress, it is very important for you to protect it.

In addition to registration, you also have to actively protect it. Which means that if you see other people stepping on to your IP you have to send a decease letter asking them to stop it and enforce your rights. Otherwise, you could be seen as abandoning your own right.

It is very important to find a lawyer who really understands your product or service. If you are a tech company go and find a lawyer who has a tech background. If you are a medical or engineering company go and find a lawyer who has a medical engineering background. Because it is critical for the lawyer to understand your product or services so that they can correctly understand your issues. Just don’t jump on to the big names, because it’s very important to have a lawyer who knows and who is interested in your product or services so that they can give appropriate advice. If you’re a software company look for some work experience in the software industry, that is a very good indicator. Or look at the degree they have, if they have a degree in law, don’t expect them to understand your DNA testing kit because they most likely don’t understand your service or product.

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