Understanding how to navigate, protect and commercialise your intangible assets is key to safeguarding your business’s intellectual property (Image: Canva)
Innovation and technology are at the backbone of many successful businesses. However, achieving success requires more than just a great product or service and a way to sell it. With increasing competition, finding ways to commercialise inventions while keeping them safe from copycats can be challenging. This is where Intellectual Property (IP) protection comes in.
IP refers to creations of the mind that have commercial value and can be legally protected. This includes literary and artistic works, designs and symbols, inventions such as algorithms, software, design processes and content, as well as names and logos used in commerce.
IP rights provide the owner with exclusive rights to control the use and distribution of their creations. To ensure your business’s continued growth and expansion, understanding how to leverage your IP and intangible assets (IA) is critical.
While it is not the most glamourous part of running a business, IP protection is crucial to securing every business’s intangible assets. When it comes to protecting your IP, implementing suitable best practices and arming yourself with the right legal credentials could prevent competitors from copying or imitating your products or services. It gives you legal protection over your business, and permits you to sue for infringement and the right to defend against claims of infringement, securing your business’s competitive advantage in the market.
Key findings from the IP Survey 2023 conducted by the Intellectual Property Office of Singapore (Image: IPOS website)
However, with a lack of understanding of IP, filing for the right IP protection can be overwhelming for a lot of business owners. Not to worry though as GoBusiness IP Grow is here to guide you on how you can protect your IP rights.
Here are four common IP challenges local businesses face and how you can leverage GoBusiness IP Grow to overcome them:
1. I have no idea where to start with IP protection
The main IP challenge that businesses encounter is often a lack of awareness of IP protection. According to the Singapore IP Survey 2023 conducted by the Intellectual Property Office of Singapore, four out of five enterprises in Singapore would like more opportunities to use their IA/IP to obtain financing. However, 92 per cent of companies did not optimise the subsidies or grants available for their IP activities, and more than half cited a lack of awareness of available IP resources as the key factor.
To help businesses discover the wealth of IP resources available, GoBusiness IP Grow has a consolidated list of IA/IP resources to help businesses get started on their IA/IP journey. These include e-Services, funding support, guides and more.
Gobusiness IP Grow provides a comprehensive list of IA/IP services and service providers categorised into four key categories to give users a high-level understanding of the IA/IP services that may be necessary for their business
To ensure that you get the help you need to protect your IP, GoBusiness IP Grow also has a comprehensive list of 20 IA/IP directories, categorised into four key types of IA/IP services to give you a concrete understanding of the various IP services available to help you better identify your needs. The categories are IP Search and Registration, IP Strategy and Management, IP Commercialisation and Financing, and Others.
The e-Adviser for IP service curates recommendations for the type of IA and IP services your business needs based on the short questionnaire
If you’re still not sure which IA/IP services your business needs, simply tap into the GoBusiness e-Adviser for IP Service for personalised recommendations.
2. I have difficulty navigating the IP registration process
According to the latest Singapore IP survey, one of the top three IP-related challenges in Singapore is navigating the individual requirements of IP offices.
Often, businesses can get overwhelmed when the administrative process is encumbered with registry issues, backlogs and delays in trademark and patent registration. A lack of expertise in patent claims drafting could also further deter the process of patent filing, especially for smaller businesses with less resources.
Depending on the kind of intangible assets business owners are looking to secure, they will need to file for the correct form of IP ownership for patents, trademarks and copyrights for designs. However, how you craft and submit your applications for IP ownership can be a complex process that influences the extent of your IP protection.
For comprehensive IA/IP protection, consider seeking advice from professional service providers to help you navigate the world of IP protection. By leveraging their proficiency, you enhance your chances of acquiring the right protection for your business.
GoBusiness IP Grow provides a consolidated list of IA/IP Services that your business may require
On GoBusiness IP Grow, you can find a list of reliable IA/IP service providers for each type of IA/IP service you are looking for, get an overview of each service provider’s charges at a glance, and connect with the service providers of your choice.
Additionally, you can discover useful tools such as the IPOS Digital Hub and IP Clinics through GoBusiness IP Grow’s list of IA/IP resources. The IPOS Digital Hub allows business owners to file for trademark protection, patents, or registered designs for IP management digitally, while the IP Clinics offer complimentary IP consultation for Singapore citizens, permanent residents and/or Singapore registered businesses.
3. I’m not sure where to find suitable IA/IP service providers
There is no one way to go about securing your IP rights. You will need to look at your business’s future plans and the future intangible assets you will have, and adapt your strategy accordingly.
That also means that your business could require all kinds of IA/IP services, but often businesses may not know how to source for suitable IA/IP service providers.
Take five minutes to complete the e-Adviser questionnaire, and get recommendations on the most suitable IA/IP service providers you can connect with
Need recommendations for IA/IP service providers? Well look no further, as GoBusiness IP Grow has consolidated a list of service providers that offer any of the 20 listed IA/IP services. Use the GoBusiness e-Adviser for IP Service Provider to match with the most suitable provider, based on your IP needs and preferences.
Simply select the services you require, your industry, your countries of interest, and provider preferences. You will get a list of suitable providers based on your answers.
4. I’m concerned about the costs of IP protection
IP protection is a crucial part of safeguarding your business growth, but the costs of IP protection and management can add up, forming a major hurdle for smaller businesses.
GoBusiness links you to available grants and funding support available for your business
The expense of safeguarding your IP might give you pause when considering trademarks or patents for your products, but there are grants available to help you defray the costs of IP management. Local businesses hoping to upgrade, innovate or venture overseas can apply for the Enterprise Development Grant (EDG) by Enterprise Singapore to defray eligible costs. Companies looking to market products and services overseas can also apply for the Market Readiness Assistance (MRA) Grant to cover up to 50 per cent of third-party costs. More information on these grants can be assessed via the list of IA/IP resources on GoBusiness IP Grow and the grant application can be made via the Business Grant Portal, which is also on GoBusiness.
Beyond safeguarding your ideas, IP rights can evolve into another avenue for generating sustainable revenue. By licensing or selling the rights to use your business’s IP, you can create new sustainable streams of income.
However, marketing your own IP, identifying and engaging suitable licensees and navigating licensing negotiations can be complex for business owners. This is where IP brokerage and licensing professionals act as intermediaries by actively sourcing the necessary IP, finding potential licensees, and supporting and facilitating negotiations for transactions.
GoBusiness IP Grow provides a list of recommended IP Marketplace brokers, allowing for a convenient selection of reliable brokers to help you with your business
Through the GoBusiness IP Grow, you can identify IP Marketplace service providers to list your IP assets for licensing and sale. You can also gain access to IP Brokerage and Licensing companies that facilitate connections between IP buyers and sellers while overseeing all deal activities, encompassing the purchase, sale, licensing and franchising packages, as well as the marketing of IP assets.
With the help of an IP broker, you can develop a licensing structure that will protect your IP assets, while maximising long-term returns. When that happens, spending on IP protection will not just be an expense, but a worthy investment that funds itself.
Check out GoBusiness IP Grow for an extensive list of resources on protecting your IA and IP. These include the GoBusiness e-Adviser for IP Service and e-Adviser for IP Service Provider to access a personalised list of recommendations for IA/IP services and service providers tailored to your business needs!
This article is accurate as at 25 Sep 2023