The Truths and Lies About
Intellectual Property

IP News and Information

Intellectual property is valuable. It’s a common belief but is it a fact? Think about that statement closely. Is intellectual property really valuable? The truth is you can’t answer that question with a simple yes or no. Perhaps a more accurate statement is: intellectual property can be valuable. The world is full of people with the innovative spirit. Innovation and new ideas and inventions are what make the world go. New ideas that solve problems or make life better are always a welcome addition to the marketplace. However, for very great innovation there are hundreds of others that just don’t quite make the cut. In fact, most inventors that receive a patent don’t ever see those patents bring them untold amounts of riches. So, just because you own a patent or a trademark that doesn’t mean you will end up fabulously wealthy.

Myth: A Patent Equals Arrival

People from all walks of life have a lot of different beliefs about patents. In fact, many patent owners included have certain misconceptions about owning a patent or other intellectual property rights. One of the most common beliefs that many people have is that they only need to own one patent and then they are good to go. While one great patent could be enough in some cases, the fact is, you will likely need many patents to obtain the success you seek. In addition, if you have dreams of dominating the global market, then you need to have global patents. In other words, you can’t just file a patent in the U.S. and have coverage around the globe. According to IPTrader president Arlen Olsen, “you must file for these rights individually in every country where you want to own them and you must do it within the appropriate deadlines.”

Myth: Big Companies and Investors Love Patents

Yes, it is true that large companies looking to make acquisitions, and investors looking to put money into growth-potential companies, do like intellectual property. Yes, they do look for companies with strong IP portfolios. However, the key is what is in those portfolios and who is behind them. In other words, is the company that owns them a good acquisition target? A strong patent portfolio can be another attractive draw to an investor or large company, but they will also closely evaluate the company, who is leading it and where that company is headed before they write a check. Even if you have a strong portfolio, a poorly managed company will have a much harder time attracting an investor.

Myth: All intellectual property is interchangeable

Some people believe that patents, trademarks, trade secrets and copyrights are all basically one in the same when it coms to protection, but they are different and they all require different types of protection measures. Each of these actually protects different types of intellectual property rights so they are not interchangeable. Be sure you obtain all the different rights you want to protect and don’t assume that just because you have a patent that a trademark comes with it.

Myth: I Have Plenty of Time to File

One other common misconception in regards to patents is that you have a lot of time to file, especially if you are new and your idea is completely different from anything else on the market. While it’s possible that this is the case, it’s also just as likely that someone else has had the same idea as you and they could beat you to the filing, especially since the U.S. Patent Office now follows a “first-to-file” system and not a “first-to-invent” system. If your patent application is ready to be filed, then file it and make sure you don’t lose your IP rights to someone else.