Every business – small or large – has to deal with issues related to intellectual property. Of course there are such industries, sometimes called ‘creative’, for which copyrights, patents and industrial designs are the essence of their business. Filmmakers, editors, musicians, and artists usually do not need to be convinced of the importance of the right to property, which can not be touched or weighed – and which is hidden under the term “intangible goods”.
Computer games and R&D
Many people intuitively realize that modern a video game is a complex project, intersecting aspects of the rights to source code, game scenarios, audiovisual scenes, graphics, narrator’s artistic rendition, and perhaps a book on which the game is based on … Similarly, they realize that an innovative company – even with just one person in the R&D department – must take care of its know-how, consider what to patent, and how to protect the company’s copyrights.
Graphics, printing, layout, catalogues
The awareness gets worse when an entity does not belong to the “creative sector”. Sooner or later, though, comes a reflection. This happens, for example, when suddenly a garment manufacturer receives notification from the creator of graphics used on T-shirts, or when a listed company must enter into a settlement in relation to the unlawful use of the layout of catalogues and a mindlessly revamped television advertisment – for which the company has paid, but has not acquired the derivative copyrights.
Costly rebranding, product imitation and packaging designs
Many entrepreneurs must make costly rebranding after forgetting to check to what extent the logo and name which they wanted to use has been used by their competition. Similar frustrations have been experienced by many manufacturers, who realized after a while their most valuable flagship product is almost copied by their competitor or when it turns out that they can no longer use the formulas they used with packaging and labels, as they did not acquire a copyright for their projects in a timely manner.
Start-ups and investors
Unfortunately, a common is surprise by the creators of an innovative start-up who loses the investor of a lifetime when the investor conducts legal due diligence. and But even a business angel will not invest several million, in the most promising project, if the documents of the company cannot be used to determine who, and to what extent, has the rights to the main asset.
The examples can be multiplied. It is therefore important to realize that just like there are no companies in present times who can absolutely ignore the virtual world – though not all of them have to create portals and social networking sites – there is no way to lead a successful business in the long run, ignoring the existence of intellectual property: be its own, or someone else’s.
The article originally appeared in Puls Biznesu on 26th of November 2016.