Small firms and start-ups are urged to take care when developing services and products to avoid breaching other companies’ intellectual property (IP).
In recent months a number of small firms have been caught out after failing to check whether products they are creating or new services they have named breach the IP rights of other companies.
Failing to carry out proper checks in advance of launching a new product could land small businesses in serious trouble. In many cases companies may be asked to rebrand or remove their product from the market by their competitor.
If these businesses then fail to remove their product from the market, more serious action could be taken and they may find themselves being sued and forced to pay damages that could potentially run into millions of pounds.
The UK has seen a boom in the number of start-ups and micro-businesses since the recession, especially in the field of technology and engineering. So many actions have been taken against small firms recently, even in cases where they innocently thought they had an original idea or product. Small business owners need to seek advice when investing time and money into a new idea.
Endeavour Partnership is able to carry out a full background check and search for registered trade marks and patents, while also conducting research among competitors to see if they have any identical or similar IP rights registered. Once you have an established business it is important to protect your own intellectual property by ensuring that the brand is registered as a trade mark where it can be and where the idea involves a new product or process, that it has a patent applied for. After these are in place it is important to make regular checks of your industry sector to ensure your own IP is not being breached.
Being vigilant and always checking is key to ensuring you and your business are protected.