Innovation Insider – Helping the West Midlands (WM) EntrepreurshIP* landscape produce more bluechIP businesses

Putting IP at the tail-end of the EntrepreneurshIP journey may unnecessarily expose a business to risk.

Digital skills are used in our ever-developing online and tech-oriented world. Roles in digital marketing, software development, programming and digital design have become the most sought-after and lucrative positions across the country.

The entrepreneurial business needs to get a grip of its ideas, and ensure it has the equipment to maximise its innovation and creative assets. Ok, no more quips!

Entrepreneurs (and all pre-starts/early start-ups for that matter) should invest significant time, money and effort to grow their brand.

But, did you know that:

Neither Companies House nor Domain Name registration gives a business the legal right to prevent another business using the same or similar brand name in the same field of business activity?

Horrible hiccups include new businesses having to reset and re-brand. This early-stage commercial shock has sometimes been terminal. Wouldn’t it be better for the business to avoid early issues – there are relatively straightforward ways to do so, for instance in this case by securing a registered trade mark.  Better still, one day the business could then recoup the ‘sweat equity’ in the brand?

Of course, building your brand will need some sound marketing.

But, did you know that:

If an entrepreneur/business, asks a 3rd party person or company to design or create collateral like website content (text, photos etc), and other marketing material, even the brand logo, then the 3rd party will own the copyright in that work?

It has to be a good idea for the business to ensure it owns these brand-related assets from the outset, doesn’t it? (I’ll tell you how below).

Let’s take a step back though, to the start of the entrepreneurial journey – the kernel of the idea for a new business. We (the UK) are near the top of the tree for our innovation and creative ideas (and the West Midlands is one of the UK’s strongest branches on that tree).

So, let’s retain those ideas, until the right time. The best way to keep something confidential is not to disclose it in the first place, but the business will need to discuss it with others at some point and it’s wise to do that in the right way. Also, before spending too much time, money and effort on an idea, it is best practice for a business to double/triple-check the ‘U’ in ‘USP’ (Unique Selling Proposition). Is it quite as unique as it thinks?

Did you know that:

Searching the IP Rights databases can improve business intelligence and shed valuable light on an innovation, a market and competitors.

To help avoid all these costly horrible hiccups at an early stage here is some useful FREE information and guidance on how to:

  • improve business intelligence,
  • share an idea safely and
  • better secure brand and marketing collateral.

IP or Intellectual Property, thereI’ve finally said it, is NOT patents, designs, copyright etc and it never has been – they are IP Rights, just one means of protection.  But, it IS the product of innovative and creative minds.

To return to my earlier analogy, let’s give the incredible West Midlands IP ‘branch’ the best chance to bear as much fruit as possible and ensure we can firstly enjoy that fruit in our region!

If I’ve managed to unzip your curiosity here, then don’t skip the next blog on:

“Effective leadershIP and successful business partnershIPs to secureand benefit frominnovation and creative assets”.

Ps did I mention ‘IP’ is everywhere!

Author, Paul Storer

West Midlands Policy Adviser, UK Intellectual Property Office (and a would-be stand-up comic!)