Many people with an idea for new technology imagine it will involve a group of start-up enterpreneurs leaving their jobs to take a gamble on a new company with uncertain success, knowing there will be great rewards when their vision suceeds. In reality, a savvy inventor who knows how to use and claim their intellectual property can position themselves in the market in a way that allows them to sell or license the technology to an existing player for royalties while keeping all the benefits of their current job, or to capture interest and funding from investors quickly.
A well placed patent allows you to dominate a new market for years or even decades and ensures a competitor will not free ride off of your hard work creating your technology once you prove your idea. Whether you sell your idea and let it bring in profits or decide to strike off on your own and create a start-up company, strong IP protection is key for your efforts.
Selling or licensing your patent to a company that already has industry experience lets you profit from your idea without the risk that comes with a start-up and bypasses the expense of creating a production line or perfecting the details yourself. Just as improtantly, it saves you the time and effort spent developing the product yourself. However, if you want to sell your idea to a company they will be only be looking at the parts of your idea that you can legally protect or that you contract to keep confidential.
If you want to create a start-up, a strong patent is the engine that drives investor interest and gives them security in investing in your company. One of the first things investors look at for when deciding whether to fund a new company is whether the IP will be able to prevent new competitors from sweeping in and stealing the business once they take the risks to prove the product, and is a good sign taht if the invention is profitable they will receive the rewards.
For freelancers and creative workers like artists, programmers, marketers, and translators, copyright is the path to getting the full value for your work. If you are doing any kind of creative work, you may have rights in what you produce that you can take advantage of. You can also lose those rights if you aren’t careful with your contracts and end up unable to use your old work for new jobs. Smart use of contracts with your employers and clients can allow you to take full advantage of your rights and build up an IP portfolio which will generate value for you. Unlike patent law, many copyright benefits go to you automatically and filing is the route to secure and clarify those rights to give notice to others, but many of these rights can be either securedfor you or contracted away depending on the wording of your agreements. In addition to careful contracting, it is important to build up a portfolio of filed copyrights on your work if you ever want to sell or enforce your rights.