High Tech on the Low hosted by Jordan Kastrinsky, is on a mission to make high tech accessible to the world. In my podcast, I explore the many different facets of the world of high tech from development to marketing, to sales, to entrepreneurship and more! With society turning ever more towards technological solutions to make processes more efficient and secure, it is important, now more than ever, that we unite the high-tech sector's collective resources under one roof to reap the benefits of this knowledge-sharing. There is so much opportunity out there to grow within the industry that we must provide the tools through which to do so.
When building a new venture, a founder or entrepreneur is generally developing new products or systems that will ideally help innovate or change a current industry. Yet, this does not happen in a vacuum, but within the context of large industry players, up-and-coming startups, and other actors in the space. Therefore, as a person sets up their venture, they should always be aware of the fact that the competition is lurking out there, searching for commercial weaknesses. “I can’t stress enough how important it is to protect yourself, small or large, from the threats of having your IP stolen”, adds experienced patent attorney Dr. Hanan Farber, founder of Farber Patents.
One of the most common weaknesses companies can encounter that can truly put them in a vulnerable position, in the present and the future is the lack of IP legal protection. But what is Intellectual Property Law exactly?
IP Law aims to protect and enforce the rights of the creators and owners of product inventions, writing, music, designs, and other works and includes four main categories: copyright, trademarks, trade secrets, and patents. Copyright law protects against the unlawful use of works in fine arts, entertainment, and computer software. Trademark law, often denoted by a small ‘™’, protects words, phrases, symbols, or designs used by an entity to identify itself. Trade secrets are business practices, formulas, designs, or processes used in a business. Lastly, patent law provides a mechanism for protecting new inventions, processes, or designs.
By becoming a patent holder, what one essentially does is create a system of controls by which you prevent others from producing, using, distributing, or importing the protected item or process. And it is key to mention that patents not only protect physical products but also designs of yet-to-be-made products and even process flows that innovate on previous ones. Why is this important? At the end of the day, any product or design or process, once made public to the big wide world, is vulnerable to being copied and reproduced by others looking to compete in the industry. “We’re talking about the main bread and butter of any company, why wouldn’t you want to protect that from people who’d want to steal it?” Hanan stresses.
A patent safeguards the invention by protecting the design or process, according to aspects regarding its originality, suitability, and utility and can last for up to 20 years, keeping competitors at bay. What’s important is that while many founders and startups may hesitate at first due to the time and resource-intensive process of filing a patent, doing so at the onset, sets startups up for success. Hanan understands that startups may take different paths to get a patent, but stresses that no matter what, companies get to it sooner rather than later. “Sure, you may not have the money at the very start to file a patent. And not everyone should file at the very start, especially as you iron out company fundamentals. That’s ok, just be careful with whom you share information. But the sooner you file a patent for your developments, whether a product, design, or processes, the sooner you’ll have the peace of mind to continue to grow and expand your business”.