trademark databases to avoid using an
existing trademark and protect trademarks before launching a new product or
service with a new brand name. It is important to consider export markets when
doing so and avoid using brand names that may have an undesirable meaning in a
patentable subject matter and make sure
it is patented early enough to avoid losing the invention to competitors.
Make sure that patentable inventions are not
shared with others or published before filing a patent application. In order
to meet the patentability criteria inventions must be considered “new”. Early
disclosure of an invention (e.g. through publication) will compromise the
chances of the invention being considered new, and therefore patentable.
Make sure that
trade secrets are kept within the
enterprise and prepare, where appropriate,
confidentiality agreements (see
IPR help desk) when
negotiating and sharing information with business partners in order to protect
For export-oriented firms, make sure IP is
protected in all potential export markets. In the case of patents, it is
important to bear in mind that an enterprise generally has 12 months from the
date of filing of a national application to file the same patent application
in other countries.
Use your IP portfolio as leverage when seeking
sources to finance your business
(e.g. include IP assets, particularly patents,
utility models and
designs, in your business plan as it may help to convince investors of the
market opportunities open to your enterprise).
patent information available in patent databases to develop your
When conducting joint research with other
enterprises or research institutes, make sure that there is sufficient clarity
on who will own potential IP generated from the research project.
Monitor the market and make sure that your IP
assets are not being infringed. If violation of your IP rights is detected it
may be advisable to contact a lawyer (see also "What
Should Your SME do to Resolve Disputes Related to Intellectual Property?").
If you are unsure about how to best protect your
company’s intangible assets, conducting an IP audit may be a good first step
in order to identify all your company’s valuable information and to develop an
IP strategy. On occasions, companies are unaware of the wealth of assets they
possess in the form of information, creative ideas and know-how and may,
therefore, not take adequate steps to protect them.