Did you know that as much as 38 percent of the total U.S. GDP comes from intellectual property-intensive industries? But given that all of their assets are nontangible, how can we even assign them any value? After all, how do you put a price on an idea that can be spread to anyone with no materials or shipping costs?
Intellectual property rights protect your exclusive right to control your ideas and designs. Read on to discover the importance of intellectual property rights and what benefits they can bring your business.
What Are Intellectual Property Rights?
Before we dive into the benefits of intellectual property rights, let’s talk some about what they are. Intellectual property is any intangible or nonphysical asset that you can make a viable claim to. This can include a computer program, a piece of writing, a logo design, a manufacturing process, etc.
Because intellectual property (or IP) is not a physical asset, it can be hard to determine to who that asset “belongs.” Intellectual property rights ensure that the person who came up with an idea or design can get the credit and benefits they deserve. In general, unless you’ve signed an agreement stating otherwise, any IP you create is legally yours.
Protect Your Invention
One of the most important functions of intellectual property rights is protecting your invention from other people who would want to use it. The trouble with IP is that once you share your idea with someone else, they have as much access to it as you do. And, unlike with physical property, they can pass that information as widely as they like.
Without IP rights, a person who came up with a good idea would only be able to earn a profit off it for as long as they could keep it secret. IP rights allow you to license those ideas and give other people access to them without losing those business exclusive rights. If anyone does steal the idea or spread it without your permission, they could wind up owing you a lot of money.
Protect Your Branding
Of course, new ideas aren’t the only kind of intellectual property. Technically, company branding is a form of IP since it’s a nonphysical asset that helps you to promote your business. But what do you do if one of your competitors starts piggybacking off your successful branding to promote their own products?
IP rights help to protect your branding from other copycats and competitors. Once you trademark a business name, logo, and other such branding designs, other companies can no longer use those same images and names. In fact, a number of companies have gotten in trouble for violating the IP rights of their competitors.
Add Value to Your Invention
Inventing something new is very exciting, but most of the time, your goal is to get money off that innovation. One of the best ways to make a profit from IP is by using it to improve the processes your company uses. This can give you an edge in the market and help you to decrease costs, increase profits, or both.
However, that market edge (and so the value of your IP) goes away if all your competitors can immediately start copying that process, too. IP rights help to keep that process exclusive and protect the extra cash flow you’ve earned. This adds value to your invention and may even earn you licensing fees as competitors look to gain that advantage for themselves.
Protect Your Business Growth
On the subject of getting an edge in the market, IP rights can help you to protect your business growth. Successful businesses always look for ways to add more value for their customers, improve efficiency, reduce costs, and increase profits. Many IP inventions are born out of the effort to achieve these goals.
Creating these market advantages can help your company to increase revenue and begin to expand into other areas of the market. But if all your competitors had equal access to that IP, you’d find yourself back at square one with no competitive advantage. Intellectual property protection helps you to continue your business growth and protect that expansion.
As you’re growing your business, you want to bring people into your team who will work to make your business better. In short, you want team members who are creative and innovative. But it can be hard to encourage that extra level of creativity and innovation if your team members know their contributions won’t add any value.
The promise of IP profits can incentivize your team members to find new, creative solutions to problems. If they know that they’ll profit directly off their invention or that they’ll earn a better place in your company thanks to that invention, they’ll be more likely to go that extra mile. This can help to encourage creators within your organization and foster an atmosphere of innovation and growth.
Discover the Importance of Intellectual Property Rights
Although intellectual property isn’t a physical asset, it still needs just as much protection as any of your company’s harder property. Intellectual property rights protect those intangible assets and give you exclusive control over your invention. This can add value to your company, protect your branding and business growth, and encourage creativity within your organization.
If you’d like to discover the importance of intellectual property rights, check out the rest of our site at AGC. Schedule a free consultation with us today.