What is Intellectual Property?
IP refers to the concept of protecting creations of the mind, such as inventions, literary and artistic works, designs and symbols, names and images used in business. IP rights are intangible in the sense that they cannot be seen or touched, but their importance to all successful companies, big and small, should not be underestimated.
All businesses have some form of IP which may be protected, allowing the creators or owners to control the use of their creation by others and to benefit from their work or investment.
SMEs are increasingly vulnerable to the threat of IP theft, so it is important for companies to understand how to protect their rights.
The benefits of IP rights include:
- Exclusivity. IP rights typically give the owner the exclusive right to control use of the creation for a certain period of time, helping SMEs to gain distinctiveness, preserve a market niche and compete more effectively with larger companies
- Increase the value of the business. IP rights contribute to the assets of a business and enable a company to establish and grow its reputation and goodwill in the marketplace. A viable IP portfolio will enhance the value of a company in the eyes of investors and financial institutions.
- Licensing revenues. Companies can also control the use of their IP and generate revenue by licensing IP rights for use by other companies and individuals.
Download our IP Checklist to help you identify what intellectual property protections you might be able to put in place for your business.