Intellectual property (IP) is an effective method for defending your competitive advantage. It offers an avenue for you to protect your ideas with the rule of law and prevent would-be competitors from horning in on your market.
TYPES OF INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY
There are several main types of intellectual property: copyrights, patents, trademarks, and trade secrets. While copyrights, patents, and trademarks utilize public databases of who has filed what, trade secrets rely upon the utilization of strict non-disclosure agreements to protect specific information.
PRIOR ART SEARCH
The prior art search refers to the process of reviewing existing intellectual property (such as patents) to review for potential conflicts of interest with your idea. After all, someone may have already thought of your idea, and taken the steps to protect it. So it behooves you to research pre-existing intellectual property to avoid working on an idea that has been done already.
CURRENT DEVELOPMENT STAGE OF YOUR INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY
It is generally a good idea to include the current status of your intellectual property in your business plan, such as when a patent was filed, where it is in the review process, and when the patent was granted (if this has already occurred). This will help to give your audience a general idea of how long you can expect legal protection for your idea.
IF YOU REMEMBER ANYTHING, REMEMBER THIS…
Everything you find here is designed to help you write a better business plan. Take what you like, ignore what you do not. The most important thing to remember is that there is no single “right way” to write a business plan.