many, intellectual property (IP) is a rather obscure legal concept that
can only be properly understood and applied by those who are specially
trained. You may be asking yourself why any small and medium-sized
enterprise (SME) and, more so, your SME should pay attention to IP, or
what benefits your SME could possibly draw from its use. The following
links may provide answers to some of these questions.
Why Is Intellectual Property Relevant To Your SME?
human creativity and inventiveness, intellectual property is all around us.
Every product or service that we use in our daily lives is the result of a long
chain of big or small innovations, such as changes in designs, or improvements
that make a product look or function the way it does today.
Take a simple product. For example, a pen. Ladislao Biro’s famous patent
on ballpoint pens was in many ways a breakthrough. But, like him, many
others have improved the product and its designs and legally protected
their improvements through the acquisition of IP rights. The trademark
on your pen is also intellectual property, and it helps the producer to
market the product and develop a loyal clientele.
And this would be the case with almost any product or service in the
marketplace. Take a CD player. Patent protection is likely to have been obtained
for various technical parts of a CD player. Its design may be protected by
industrial design rights. The brand name is most probably protected by a
trademark and the music played in the CD player is (or has been) protected by
So, How Does this Affect Your Business?
Regardless of what product your enterprise makes or what service it provides, it
is likely that it is regularly using and creating a great deal of intellectual
property. This being the case, you should systematically consider the steps
required for protecting, managing and enforcing it, so as to get the best
possible commercial results from its ownership. If you are using intellectual
property that belongs to others, then you should consider buying it or acquiring
the rights to use it by taking a license in order to avoid a dispute and
consequent expensive litigation.
every SME has a trade name or one or more trademarks and should consider
protecting them. Most SMEs will have valuable confidential business information,
from customers' lists to sales tactics that they may wish to protect. A large
number would have developed creative original designs. Many would have produced,
or assisted in the publication, dissemination or retailing of a copyrighted
work. Some may have invented or improved a product or service.
such cases, your SME should consider how best to use the IP system to its own
benefit. Remember that IP may assist your SME in almost every aspect of your
business development and competitive strategy: from product development to
product design, from service delivery to marketing, and from raising financial
resources to exporting or expanding your business abroad through licensing or
out how all this and many other things may happen, follow through the pages of
this web site and discover the world of intellectual property and the
opportunities it offers to your SME.