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Let’s Break It Down. All You Need To Know About Intellectual Property (IP)

24th Oct, 2016

What would happen if that light bulb moment, that one defining idea, turns out to be your key to buying that beach house in Hawaii, bungee jumping in the Himalayas (if there is such a thing), buying your very own yacht?

What if you were destined to become the next Bills Gates…no, scratch that, Mark Zuckerberg? I don’t mean joining the list of college dropouts turned multi billionaires; we are tired of those clichés.

Let us flip the coin and envision your idea catapulting you to the big leagues. With no short cuts, no godfathers or even fairy godmothers (for the Peter Pan fans). Better yet let’s name it – that Einstein Moment.

Then, as naïve as we all are, we share this brilliant life changing idea with our inner circle, because let’s face it, these are people who may even know how many teeth we have without batting an eyelid.

You have their back and they have yours. They share in your excitement and encourage you to forge forward and never lose hope. So you gather all you intellectual neurons and put them to work, Rome wasn’t built in a day remember, the hard work has only just began. Sleepless nights and hungry mornings become the order of the day but you convince yourself it will all be worth it.

At the same time, you begin to gather sponsors, fellows in the same space, and experts from every corner and give them a teaser of the biggest revelation this decade has ever seen. Some look at you with envy and the others cannot find a better way to express their pride. As the big day nears, extra effort is exerted to make sure everything is perfect.

The day before your big announcement, you cannot recall ever being this excited; even the first day of university wasn’t this exciting. If anything, it was frightening.

Then you decide to take a look at the dailies as you have always done and your eyes nearly drop out of their sockets as you read the headlines. The palpitations in your chest remind you that you may be seconds away from a heart attack so you take a deep breath, step back and continue reading.

The headlining picture clears your doubts as you confirm that your best friend already made a deal with the world’s largest investors to develop his product –my bad-your  product turned his. Your whole life literally comes crashing down and you have no idea where to start.

This my friend is why you should know about Intellectual property and everything it entails before broadcasting your brilliant idea to the whole world! What is intellectual Property you may ask? IP (Intellectual Property) legally protects your patents, copyright and trademarks, which enable people to earn recognition or financial benefit from what they invent or create.

By striking the right balance between the interests of innovators and the wider public interest, the IP system aims to foster an environment in which creativity and innovation can flourish.

IP can be categorized into three different types: Copyrights, Patents and Trademarks. Obtaining a copyright means that creators have all the right over their literary and artistic works. The works covered by copyright range from books, music, paintings, sculpture and films, to computer programs, databases, advertisements, maps and technical drawings.

Once you patent your idea it means that the patent owner has the right to decide how – or whether the invention can be used by others and in exchange for this right, the patent owner makes technical information about the invention publicly available in the published patent document.

Finally, a trademark is a sign capable of distinguishing the goods or services of one enterprise from those of other enterprises. Trademarks date back to ancient times when craftsmen used to put their signature or “mark” on their products.

To summarize it all, the pertinent issues you need to consider in the IP portfolio are: Company name, internet domain, patents, copyrights, trademarks and licenses, business plans and social media account names.

Let’s protect our ideas, so that we do not fall prey to conniving individuals who reap what they have not sown. That said, see you every Monday at 8pm on NTV for the Lion’s Den.

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