Recently I have noticed that there are quite lot a different startup competitions and events all over the world. But I have also noticed that these young entrepreneurs don't have time to think about intellectual property - what they have, how to protect it, how to value it, how to present their idea, what to share ot not to share, etc.

What do you think, what are the most crucial aspects for start-up companies regarding intellectual property?

Tags: intellectual property, startups

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From what I have seen in Singapore, startup companies are always keen to patent their technologies (with dollar signs in their eyes over the sheer amount of licensing fees they'll be receiving one day). Keen to patent of course, because startups are usually convinced, with gusto, that their innovation will be a world changing, paradigm shifting, etc tool.


Budget is always a constraint in a startup companies and to make this complicated: for the most of time startups will change direction, or deviate from their original technology, many times before even making themselves profitable. Hence, by the time they are profitable and have a sustainable business based on some evolved technology, they may have completely deviated from the original patents they have filed for. Do these startups need to be maintaining patents they filed in zest due to their inertia when first starting out? Was the initial patent filing a waste of, their already scarce, time and resources? Should they have waited longer before diving into patent filing?

In this sense, the question is about timing. When is the right time for a startup to patent their technology?

I would love to hear others views on this. As it is something I have always been in thought with.

Usually the situation in Cameroon or most countries in Central Africa is that start-up companies are not aware of Intellectual Property. They usually have a limited capital and always consider the Intellectual Property protection system an expensive venture when you introduce it to tnem. You need a lot of time to get convince them about the benefit of protecting their intellectual creativity. It also becomes more difficult once they start realising a liitle profit. They will not be ready to deviate from their way of doing business.

But a few of these start-ups that have forieign or International connections are well equipped and properly utilise all aspects of IP for their growth and developmnent.
Once the course is set, the niche needs to be defined & protected.
Thank you for your answers!

What I have seen regarding trademarks is that new startups are mostly IT companies. And their thinking is totally different. In internet business it is important to be findable in search engines. So they don't think about registering their business and/or domain name as a trademark. For them for example one important criterion is to find name which is search engine friendly.

Similar is the situation regarding publishing and patenting. For example, if young entrepreneurs attend some startup competition where they have to at first present their idea shortly and after 2-5 days developing they have to present working product/service, then they don't have time or any other resources to think about intellectual property, to conduct patent or trademark searches, etc.

When is the right time for a startup to patent their technology? I think it depends on technology sector and the lifetime of product or service they develop. In addition I would take into consideration their business model, market and competitors.

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