Become a control freak.

The most exciting part of owning your IP is you get to control what you do with it and importantly, what others do with it. Commercialisation of your IP is viable when it is protected and under your control - whether it is the face and identity of your startup (the logo and name) or the substance (such as the copyright and trade secrets).

Startup 101  

Before you enter into an incubator or accelerator agreement, consider the Big Four of IP: Trademarks, Copyrights, Patents and Trade Secrets. So think about what you would like to keep and protect as yours whilst you ponder the following:

  • Secure your business name. Registering your business name with ASIC is a step in the right direction. However, did you know that the only way to prevent others from using even a registered business name is to trade mark it. While, you’re at it, register your domain name too.

  • Licensing agreements are the most common way to commercialise your IP so it is important to get the territory, period of time for permitted use and what it is you are in fact licensing correct. Did you know that you should avoid licensing your source code except in limited circumstances.

  • All businesses gather and use data. It is important to create sound privacy policies and data compliance policies addressing international and national laws.

  • If multiple parties are involved in the startup you need to consider your business structure going forward. Did you know that business structural issues often arise when the IP is sold or if a venture capitalist seeks an equity stake.

  • Sometimes the most effective way to protect your IP is to protect it as confidential information. To do this you need to establish strong IP systems through non disclosure agreements. Did you know that this unregisterable right can often allow you to commercialise well beyond any registerable rights term, think KFC and Coca Cola.