IP rights are valuable assets to any business. Patents and utility models protect new technologies and give you a monopoly over them. Trademarks protect your brand and ensure that only you can use it. Industrial design rights protect the appearance of a given product and gives you exclusive rights over it. These rights provide significant commercial advantages which can lead to higher revenues and profits.

In this article, we will give you 6 tips on how you can maximise the effects of IP rights for your business.

  1. Protect your products in all necessary territories

Many IP rights are only valid on the territories where they are registered. In order to effectively protect your business, you need to register your IP in all territories where you will be offering your goods and services. At the same time, you should also secure registrations in the territories where your goods are being produced – for example China, Turkey, Vietnam etc.

  1. Do not make false savings

Patenting of a new technology can be done only once – in Europe, this is before the technology has been revealed to the public. Deciding not to patent your technology to make some savings means irrevocably losing a 20 year monopoly over your product. Similarly, saving money from doing preliminary searches could mean much higher expenditures from disputes that could otherwise have been avoided.

  1. Make use of financing opportunities

Exclusive IP rights can be the basis of a business model that can be financed with equity or debt financing. Separately, the IP rights themselves are assets that can be sold or used as collateral.

  1. Have a long-term strategy

Your IP portfolio should evolve with your business. One technology can give you an advantage only for a limited time. It's important to have a long-term plan, to continue to innovate and to employ a full range of IP rights to ensure a multifaceted and continuing protection for your products and business.

  1. Make the state work for you

European customs authorities can protect your intellectual property by arresting counterfeit products at the customs borders. Additionally, some countries can also enforce your rights through administrative measures and fines, without the need for civil litigation.

  1. Enforce your rights against infringers

Vigorous enforcement is key to preventing infringers from damaging your business, reputation and market share. It is important to actively monitor for potential infringement activities, send cease and desist letters and if needed, initiate civil litigation and administrative action, to force the infringers to stop their conduct and pay damages.

The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.