benefits of protecting your ip

Copyright

  • Significant for the arts, media and entertainment industries
  • Beneficial for businesses that produces any form of original content such as: 
    • Computer programming code 
    • Drawings or renderings
    • Audiovisual recordings
  • Registering works can make it easier to launch and/or defend against infringement actions
  • Avoid infringing with your own works – Ensure that content used from other sources is not violating others’ copyright

Patents

  • Significant for the pharmaceuticals and tech industries
  • In Canada, patents last for 20 years from the filing date
  • Provides a monopoly over the content of the patent grant 
  • Allows holder to sell the patent, license it, use it as an asset to attract funding from investors
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Trademarks

  • An important part of building a business’ brand and its reputation
  • Strategic marketing – makes the brand distinctive
  • Garners customer loyalty and recognition from the competition in your market
  • Registration grants exclusive rights of use across Canada for 10 years
  • Stops other from using a confusingly similar trademark
  • Allows licensing of the trademark(s)
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Trade Secrets

  • Business information that has commercial value derived from its secrecy
  • No formal process for protection but must meet minimum requirements
  • Alternative to patent process – can save time and money
  • Protection for business information that is not covered by other IP right

Industrial Designs

  • Protected under the Industrial Design Act (federal)
  • Applies to a product’s unique appearance, not what it’s made of, how it’s made or how it works
  • Registration can protect exclusive rights for up to 15 years
  • Generally, if a design is a useful article made into more than 50 units, it is protected against infringement under this regime rather than copyright
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Developing an IP strategy into your business plan

Benefits of Creating a Business Plan

  1. Solidify your ideas and identify gaps and opportunities in how you can achieve your business goals
  2. If you are seeking financing, a business plan will help investors evaluate the feasibility of the business

Questions to consider as you develop your IP strategy

Internal Audit: Assess what benefits your IP can provide you

Questions to Consider: 

  • Is it clear who owns the IP?
  • Are there any restrictions (including geographical) on who can use it?
  • Were others involved in the creation of the IP?
  • Which regions are you seeking protection in?

 

External Audit: Identify your competitors’ IP and their developments in the market

Questions to Consider:

  • Can your creation be protected?
  • Does your IP infringe on others rights?
  • Are your registered trademarks, or the trademarks you intend to use, similar to your manufacturer or competitors?
  • Does your competitor have an aging patent portfolio?

 

Analyzing Your Findings: Analyze your findings and determine gaps and opportunities in how you can use your IP to achieve your business goals

Questions to Consider:

  • Instead of a patent, is a  trade secret better?
  • Is the cost of patent protection worth it if my product will have a short life span?
  • Can you develop IP internally or externally?
  • Do you have sufficient IP to achieve your business needs?

 

Developing Your Strategy:

  • Defensive (reducing the risk of litigation or a lawsuit)
  • Offensive (deterring others from infringing your IP rights)

Questions to Consider:

  • How do I want to use my IP?
  • What strategy aligns with my business plan?
  • Will you license the rights to others?

Considerations When Implementing Your Strategy

IP Strategy Should Not Be A Standalone Plan

  • Integrate into the overall business strategy and align with corporate policy and culture
  • Assess the impact of implementing your IP policy internally and externally
  • Manage risks and monitor for potential infringement 

Corporate Policy Alignment – Specific Considerations 

Copyright

  • Copyright ownership on content creation – waiving moral rights associated with copyright in employment contracts
  • Policies outlining proper use of third-party works

Patent

  • Patent approval process – internal disclosure and committee approval vs. direct file
  • Legal requirements for assignment and documentation of invention (including freedom to operate)
  • Inventor-ship renumeration 

Trademark

  • Legal requirements – freedom to operate searches as part of a standard policy
  • Corporation registration policies to streamline process of filing for trademark registrations

Trade Secret

  • Ability to manage and maintain secrecy of IP assets; sharing between business units
  • Policies of categorizing, marking, and controlling materials
  • Cost of IT system 

THIS IP CONTENT HAS BEEN PROVIDED BY IP INNOVATION CLINIC FELLOWS NIKITA MUNJAL, JENNY PENG, AND CYNTHIA ZHANG.  

IP LUNCH CLUB: LIVE REPLAY

IP Innovation Clinic & Sandbox Centre held virtual info sessions throughout the month of March across a wide range of topics that aid you in making sure your business, idea, or product is protected. Thank you to Barriston Law​ for being the presenting partner of this series! Barriston joined these sessions to offer some local insights on how they are supporting the business community with IP protection and commercialization. 

In Part 3 of the IP Lunch Club series, the IP Innovation Clinic team discusses how incorporating an IP strategy into the business plan can help strengthen a company’s market position. Ensuring that the IP strategy is aligned with corporate policies will facilitate the protection of IP assets. Future commercialization and monetization initiatives will depend on your IP strategy and how the company intends to grow with its existing knowledge.

During the presentation there were a couple of resources mentioned by the IP Innovation Clinic team you can use right away: 
 
  1. IP Innovation Clinic Chatbot  receive quick answers to basic IP information and assistance with IP related matters. 
  2. IP Innovation Clinic Intake Process – become a client of the pro bono clinic. 
  3. Canadian Intellectual Property Office – additional information as it relates to applying and filing to trademarks and patents in Canada

Thank you to our sponsors & partners of this series

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