5 Tips for Timely Registering Your Intellectual Property and Beating the Competition

Intellectual property (IP) is a blanket term used to refer to every intangible asset owned by a business – be it a design, a catchphrase, a product idea, or a trade secret. It is a key business asset that generates revenue. This intangible asset is probably more valuable than most of the business’ tangible assets. Now, to turn a mere idea into a piece of IP, you have to do due diligence with the rigmarole of IP research and registration. And time is of the essence here.

The purpose of registering your Intellectual Property is to acquire sole ownership of an original creation. No two businesses can stake claim to the same piece of IP. So, it is extremely important that you beat your competition to the registration of IP. Otherwise, all you would have done is to waste your time. Here is a list of 5 tips that will help you in registering your Intellectual Property timely and thus beating your competition.

Figure: 5 tips for Timely Registering Your IP & Outsmarting the Competition

1. Take advantage of the first-to-use trademark rights system

In the US, the first-to-use system means that the business, which uses a specific mark for the first time in the marketplace there, owns the rights to that mark. This system is applicable even if the business has not yet registered the mark. You can make use of this system and release your trademark in the market to have an early bird advantage at the time of trademark application. It is always prudent to register your trademark at the USPTO as it makes the enforcement of IP rights that much easier.

2. Make use of the Madrid System

The Madrid Protocol is an international IP agreement that facilitates obtaining registered trademarks in different countries across the world by submitting only one application. The Madrid Protocol currently has 113 countries as signatories including the US. Needless to say, this system is much more time-efficient and cost-effective than having to file separate applications for each country where you want to register your trademark. 

3. File a provisional patent application

The USPTO allows businesses to file provisional patent applications. It lasts for a period of 12 months within which you must file a non-provisional application to secure a priority filing date. You can file a provisional patent application only when your invention is complete and you can describe it to the greatest possible extent.

You may wonder what the point of a provisional patent application is if it requires the invention to be complete. The USA is a first-to-file country where patent protection is granted to the first one filing the application on a particular invention. So, you need a filing date as soon as possible after the completion of your conception. Now, it so happens that creators often want to keep on improving their inventions. In such cases, a provisional patent application is really useful. You get 12 months to work on your invention and priority filing close in real time to your invention. And then you can finally bring together every facet of your invention in the non-provisional patent application.

4. Utilize the Patent Cooperation Treaty

The Patent Cooperation Treaty is an international IP agreement that lets you secure patent protection on an invention in many countries through one international application. The USA is a signatory to this treaty. So, instead of filing separate patent applications for each country, you can simply submit one application for the same, thereby saving you valuable time and resources.

5. Get professional help

Out of all the patent applications that are filed annually around the globe, 30-40 % get rejected either due to the lack of prior art research or the lack of proper applications. Patents are only a fraction of the world of IP. So, navigating the labyrinthine universe of IP is far from easy. It requires IP research experts, IP lawyers, industry experts et al to simultaneously come on board. It is always wise to consult the best among these professionals to ensure a hassle-free IP registration process.

In the US alone, more than 650,000 patent applications are filed annually. And more than 10 million trademark applications are filed annually worldwide. So, it is not difficult to understand how competitive the IP domain is around the globe. If you want to beat your competition in this scenario, it is mandatory that you always consider time as a principal factor and register your IP keeping that in mind.

-The Editorial Team

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