Azrights is an IP consultancy offering the A to Z of intellectual property rights services, hence the name. Our sister business, Azrights solicitors provides litigation support. To grow and protect your market position, you need strategic IP advice as you don’t know what you don’t know. We cover every area of IP your business needs.
What’s the best way to protect an idea? How do you make sure that your app idea is secure when you’re trying to find the right developer to create it? In this episode, we talk about all the ways you can protect your idea in the early stages of development.
What you can do to protect your idea during the initial stage of development.
Things to remember when choosing the right developer.
The importance of having an agreement with the developers that protects you.
Ways you can protect your app after it’s developed.
Confidentiality is the only way to protect a mere idea. It’s easy to get excited about a new idea and want to share it with others. Keep the idea for your app confidential when discussing it with people and developers.
When interviewing a number of developers to find the best one to work on your project, you should have a different idea to discuss with them so you won’t be hampered with needing a non-disclosure agreement to protect your main idea.
It’s up to you to make sure that the agreement with the developer protects you. If there is no agreement between you and the developer then the law automatically gives the developer the copyright in the app because they created it.
Develop the habit of being selective about who you reveal your ideas to. Do not discuss your idea with developers right away.
Do thorough research on the developers you’re interviewing and make sure you read through their terms of business and legal agreements. Key things to look out for include: Their past experience, client references and testimonials, and how they charge.
Make sure that you secure copyright from the developer in writing before you commit to engaging in their services. Otherwise you will not own the copyright in the app.
“Confidentiality is the only way to protect a mere idea at this stage. If you have an idea for an app, chances are the first thing you’ll want to do is to find someone to develop it for you. I’d advise against discussing the idea with any developers though.”
“Every idea will involve different intellectual property considerations. Some will highlight design protection, you know others may involve a patent protection and yet others will involve copyright. All concepts provide an opportunity to develop a brand.”
Thank you for listening!
Asking Google isn’t enough when it comes to protecting your apps and ideas. Sign up for my Legally Branded Academy Course to receive all the guidance you need to protect your intellectual property.
If you liked this podcast or have enjoyed any of the previous episodes, please consider giving me a review. Let me know what you think about today’s episode and feel free to ask me questions. You can reach me on social media via the links below.
Far from wanting to retire, I explained my reasons for wanting to continue working many more years. In fact, I’ve even started a second business, Azrights International Ltd, because I want an even greater sense of fulfillment and purpose from my work.
I see exciting new ways to contribute to the world and deliver added value.
Fulfillment Through Purpose
This question of fulfillment and purpose is an important one for all of us to think about whether we’re in business or working in careers.
Getting clarity on our purpose is widely advocated as the way to greater success, and enjoyment in life.
As Steve Jobs put it, doing work you love is important. To quote his words
You’ve got to find what you love . . . Your work is going to fill a large part of your life, and the only way to be truly satisfied is to do what you believe is great work”…..”the only way to do great work is to love what you do. If you haven’t found it yet, keep looking. Don’t settle.”
Purpose Is Innate To The Human Condition.
We all want to dedicate ourselves to a cause greater than ourselves. Doing so contributes to our need for significance and meaning.
I suspect the trend for baby boomers to start new businesses rather than retiring is partly driven by this need to contribute towards a higher quest. We’re reaching a stage in our lives where this desire to make a difference is stronger, as is our awareness of the legacy we want to leave behind.
I’ve been trying to clarify my purpose for a few years now. My journey trying to identify that purpose might help you to work out your purpose too because it’s by no means easy at any stage in business or life.
What’s important is to keep thinking about your purpose, and of course, realising that that purpose may shift in new directions as you grow and develop.
It’s particularly important if you’re running a business to have a cause that your team members can get behind. While if you’re employed knowing what your personal purpose in life is, should help you to find a job that you enjoy and get fulfillment from.
Mission and Values
The purpose is often confused with an organisation’s mission and values, which may explain why it’s taken me this long to work out my purpose.
A mission is what we’re trying to do, while our values and beliefs influence the way we do things, our worldview. Values impact the approach we take to what we do.
Although in the early days of my business I got help from a PR consultant to formulate my mission and values for my law firm, the exercise didn’t give me enough clarity to discover “why” I was doing what I was doing. Indeed, in those pre-2010 days, I don’t think the purpose was an issue people were advocating the need to identify.
As Simon Sinek puts it in his bestselling book Start with Why, most people know what an organization does, but few know why they do it. In other words, most purpose-driven leaders can articulate their mission–but many mission-driven leaders cannot articulate their purpose.
So, the better way to think of purpose is as the “why” behind what you do. Simon’s book was all about how a purpose-driven team achieves so much more. It’s generally accepted that working out our why is an important objective.
Starting with “Why”
All the evidence is that a business with purpose is more successful.
Sinek’s Golden Circle envisages starting from “Why” before moving on to the “How” and “What”. Purpose-Driven organisations “Start with Why”: For example, Bill Gates and Steve Jobs were passionate about revolutionising the computer industry; John Mackey, started Whole Foods advocating for organic food and healthy eating.
Knowing and communicating “the why behind the what” in everything we do, not only creates higher motivation and engagement in your employees but also buy-in from your customers.
When I worked in corporate jobs back in the 80s I hadn’t felt that my work as an in-house lawyer was making a difference to anyone. Astonishingly, looking back on it, I spent most of my late 20s and early thirties wondering whether alternative careers would enable me to make more of a difference in the world.
So, after I left the corporate world to raise my two daughters, I dipped my toes into other career options. For example, I trained to be a journalist, among other things and pursued a few courses such as in mediation.
In my search for more meaning, I even considered launching a Persian Osh soup business. Osh is a delicious, wholesome soup from Iran, where I come from. My daughters love it as do most people who try it.
My dad was a brilliant cook, and often cooked it for us when he came to visit. So, I had his unique recipe and when he died, I wondered about starting an Osh business.
I was hugely inspired by Sahar Hashemi’s book Anyone Can Do It, as she advocated the importance of being clueless. But I dismissed the idea of a food business because I couldn’t see how it would give me a greater sense of purpose in life than law.
I would invariably conclude that law was better than any of the other options open to me.
However, getting a job as a lawyer was unappealing because I just didn’t want to be employed.
While I had this teenage-style angst going on over my career options, my father steadfastly maintained his belief in the importance of law as a way to contribute meaningfully in society.
He had always suggested I just start up my own law firm which I dismissed out of hand. Apart from anything, the idea of opening my own law firm was daunting.
When my father died, I suddenly heard his advice, in a way, I’d not done when he was alive. Perhaps I grew up. His death was certainly a big turning point in my life. His words resonated, and soon afterwards I founded my law firm.
The legal work I do for small business is different to the legal work I’d done before for large companies. So, with some of the work I do as a lawyer I do feel I am making a real difference in people’s lives. But I felt that simply using my legal skills and knowledge only partially helps people. I needed to expand and go beyond the nitty-gritty details of the law.
Nevertheless, it was wise of my father to suggest setting up a law firm because I fell in love with entrepreneurship. My business was totally absorbing so that has sustained me over the years.
But it wasn’t until recently that I could sense where my purpose lay clearly enough to be truly inspired by it. What helped also was the relaxation of the rules by my regulatory body allowing us lawyers to have separate businesses.
Azrights International Ltd
I knew last year when I was embarking on my new business Azrights International Ltd that I wanted to widen my remit to include more than purely intellectual property legal work.
I wanted to take a much more international perspective on law than the legal work I do in a law firm permits. I felt increasingly limited focusing on UK intellectual property law, and just this one aspect of business when there were so many related areas – such as brand naming, positioning, brand strategy, and doing business online – that are hugely relevant to whether a business succeeds and can expand its brand sufficiently to take advantage of its intellectual property.
I want to help businesses to succeed by increasing their confidence, and sense of security, and inspiring them. Law on its own doesn’t allow for that. What’s more, I’m well equipped to offer wider help than purely law or intellectual property. So, I knew that my purpose wasn’t simply law in the narrow sense of the word, but law and business, in terms of the context law plays in business, which necessarily involves a broader scope.
Azrights International Ltd goes beyond my core skill of law. I set it up specifically because I wanted to extend my remit into related areas of branding, marketing, leadership, online business, and even personal development.
My Journey May Help You Work Out Your Purpose
The purpose has to be a high-level aspirational reason for existing and acting in your business. Even after reading Simon Sinek’s great book Start With Why twice 5 years ago I still couldn’t articulate my Why in a way that inspired and motivated me to let alone team members. That’s probably because I was just thinking about Azrights the law firm, rather than the bigger role that I could play as a business that the law firm would be part of.
I do know it’s a widespread puzzle for many entrepreneurs trying to work out their “why” given some of the lame “whys” I’ve seen at least two entrepreneurs announce on Facebook – namely, that their why is their wife and children. That’s not a purpose that will motivate team members who are involved in the business. Nor will your customers be moved to choose you over your competitors that your why is your wife and children. The search for why should, therefore, continue for those individuals
I knew I loved entrepreneurship. Indeed, for years I believed it was entrepreneurship that gave me my purpose – that if I wasn’t in a law business, then I’d be in another business which would engage me equally well. Nor was money a big motivator. It obviously pays the bills and you need money to sustain your message, so of course money matters. However, it’s not the most important reason why I want to continue working. Also, I was aware that it was hardly going to motivate my team members that I loved entrepreneurship.
As I’ve become clearer about my purpose, I’ve realised it’s as much what I do – the subject matter – like the fact that I’m running a business – that engages me.
One’s purpose should inspire the team and customers too. When you find your “why” that belief should galvanise you into making long-lasting positive changes that drive growth and innovation.
What Purpose Means and Articulating It
Purpose needs to be the meaning behind our existence, an idealistic view of what you want to become in the world.
I want the work I do to improve people’s lives by increasing their confidence, and a sense of security and to inspire them to be more dynamic and vital.
Although the aspirations of inspirational entrepreneurs like Bill Gates whose vision when he started Microsoft was for a computer in every home, might be described as a mission statement rather than a purpose, I did find it useful to emulate these brief vision statements from well-known brands to guide my purpose.
For example, Apple’s purpose was to “remove the barrier of having to learn” technology, while Google wants to organise the world’s information.”
Having a simple statement helps achieve clarity more quickly than the long, convoluted mission statement I developed 10 years ago. That statement has 10 points in it. Each one has a sentence or two. Although every point in the list resonates with my values and ideals, none of it is memorable enough to communicate what we’re up to in the world.
Mission and Purpose
So, my current stated mission Azrights International is this: To educate the world in intellectual property and business
Teaching and guiding people to focus on the right things is an important part of what I do. So, Azrights International’s first brand, Legally Branded, provides cost-effective ways for businesses located anywhere in the world to implement new ideas using a process to protect their intellectual property (Legally Branded Academy). Another important element of business success nowadays is how to address legal issues online, and understand commercial drivers behind transactions. That’s covered by (Legally Branded Monthly).
In future updates, I’ll also explain how I will be translating my purpose internally within the business as well as externally for customers and others.
It’s important to inspire and create a shared image of what your business stands for and where you want to be. This is how you avoid wasting time and resources pulling in different, perhaps even contradictory, directions and pursuing unnecessary courses of action. It also helps ensure you attract the right team members to work with you.
Next week, I’ll explore how purpose-driven organisations stay core to their mission by always keeping the “why” in mind. They keep their company’s purpose at the center by communicating a message of how they add value and enhance the lives of others.
How do you protect your original app idea from being copied by others? And what are the key considerations you need to know when it comes to developing a successful product? We talk about all this and more in today’s episode.
Why it’s important to protect your app idea from being copied.
What it takes to transform an idea into a successful app or product.
The legal protections you can use to protect your intellectual property.
The importance of researching the different legal tools to protect your app idea.
Any idea for an app, no matter how groundbreaking it may seem, only has the potential to be a successful product. You’ll need to address various issues along its development before you can transform it into your vision. In the end, the success of your app depends on whether your idea is well received.
There is the real problem of how to protect your idea so that you benefit from it. Unless you know how to develop an app yourself, you’ll need to hire the right person or company to develop it for you. This requires using the right agreement to plan the project and protect your interest.
Protecting your intellectual property needs to be covered in your plans first and foremost. You need to know how to use the law to support you if you’re to achieve your aims. Ignoring the law can lead to discovering unintended consequences that can prove fatal to your entire project later on.
Critically assess your idea. Spend time doing really thorough research on your product and check it’s market viability.
Before you take any steps to implement an idea, take the time to understand the legal protections you can use to protect it.
Learn the five principle rights covered under intellectual property, namely: copyright, patents, trademarks, designs, and confidential information.
“Quite aside from the very real practical problem of finding somebody who understands your vision and can deliver an app that reflects what’s in your head, there is a real problem of how to protect the idea so that you benefit from it.”
“If you don’t take the right actions very early on when you’re creating something if you’re not careful how you implement your ideas, then you may actually lose the opportunity to own a valuable intellectual property right.”
According to this Institute of Directors report a growing number of people are starting their own businesses in later life. In their article, Over-50s are the new business start-up generation, the Financial Times has very encouraging statistics for anyone considering starting out again after 50, namely that businesses set up by the over-50s are more likely to still be trading five years later than those established by younger age groups.
A study by Jones, Javier Miranda of the U.S. Census Bureau and MIT’s Pierre Azoulay and J. Daniel Kim looked at an expansive dataset and supports these findings. Their research shows that older entrepreneurs have a greater chance of success in their projects than younger ones. The most successful entrepreneurs are middle-aged. This research said: “We find that age indeed predicts success, and sharply, but in the opposite way that many observers and investors propose”. “The highest success rates in entrepreneurship come from founders in middle age and beyond”
They find no evidence to suggest that founders in their 20s are especially likely to succeed. Rather, all evidence points to founders being especially successful when starting businesses in middle age or beyond, while young founders appear disadvantaged.”
The study found the average founder of the fastest growing tech startups was about 45-years-old — and 50-year-old entrepreneurs were about twice as likely to have a runaway business success as their 30-year-old counterparts.
As Jones says, the findings “… could help unlock more innovative potential from the many people in the economy that are middle-aged and beyond,”
Why Older Entrepreneurs Are More Successful
Explaining some possible reasons for these findings, the authors of Age and High-Growth Entrepreneurship point out the greater management, marketing, and finance experience that older entrepreneurs tend to have, as well as a richer, deeper knowledge of an industry. Also, quite important is that older entrepreneurs are likely to have larger financial resources to tap and more social networks to mine for support in leveraging their idea.
Writing in the Harvard Business Review they explained “we found that work experience plays a critical role. Relative to founders with no relevant experience, those with at least three years of prior work experience in the same narrow industry as their startup were 85 percent more likely to launch a highly successful startup.”
The IOD report attributes this trend to the shake-up from the recession, a view backed by the FT. Apparently the over 55s are unable to get corporate jobs, and so are turning to self-employment instead.
This is all music to my ears. Previously I’d been seeing reports in the media about how baby boomers were coming up to retirement and leaving the workforce, rather than about how so many of them are starting up ventures in their 50s and 60s and crushing it by all accounts.
Reasons To Start New Businesses
The desire to supplement income may just be part of the story. After all, money is never the only driver for engaging in an activity.
I wonder whether these reports may be overlooking another important reason people may be starting up in business in their retirement years.
For myself, the work I do gives me a sense of fulfillment and purpose. I love to have a project, and that’s why, far from wanting to retire, I’ve gone on to set up a second business to exploit my skills, Azrights International Ltd.
Professor Dame Sally Davies, the chief medical officer, wrote a report a couple of years ago saying that those between the ages of 50 and 70 were healthier if they kept on working. Even the over-80s benefit. Reportedly an 89-year-old former soldier, Joe Bartley, from Devon, advertised for a job because he was “bored”. He now works as a table-clearer in a local café.
But is this really news? When we reach older ages none of us actually feels old. I have as much mental energy as I ever had – in fact, more so as I’m now free of childcare responsibilities and can devote my energy and time to the pursuit of my life and business goals.
People don’t change just because their age advances by a few years. Retiring into the sunset to put your feet up and while away the time, is rarely an appealing prospect for anyone, except perhaps for those whose skills involve physically challenging work, or for those who have absorbing hobbies to pursue which they prefer over work.
For the rest of us who have built up skills over a lifetime, an existence without work would lack purpose and meaning.
I personally want to work till I drop. I would hate not to have a project to keep me connected to the world. I love entrepreneurship, innovation, and new technologies. So, why wouldn’t I want to continue working?
Yet we live in an ageist society that reveres youth.
When society is expecting us to retire rather than start up new ventures it’s inevitable that some attitudes will be internalised so that we believe this somewhere deep inside us. The 20 or 30-year old me would have written someone of my age off. I would have thought myself completely past it by now.
How prejudiced was I! And here I am now, an older person myself. It’s just the way of the world I guess. Doesn’t every younger generation tend to regard even those who are just 10-15 years older than them as vastly aged?
So, unsurprisingly I do find the widespread ageism affects my self-belief occasionally. I catch myself fleetingly having a limiting belief. For example, recently I’ve been planning to improve my public speaking skills. Public speaking is an activity I’ve been ambivalent about most of my life. If I’m asked to speak I accept, but I never actively seek out opportunities to speak. However, I realise that when you have a message to communicate to the world then speaking on stage is a necessary part of that. So, I am trying to dispel the fleeting negative thoughts that cross my mind occasionally as I hear myself thinking: “why bother with public speaking at your age?” “Aren’t you a bit past it?” “What are you realistically likely to achieve now?” “Isn’t it too late to improve your skills by now?”
No, it’s never too late. I’m inspired by stories such as about the Japanese artist, Yayoi Kusama, who at 89 years of age has emerged in the last 5 years to become a highly sought-after artist. Success had eluded her till her 80s – according to this Guardian article about her
It heartens me when I hear of people achieving success so much later in life or continuing to have thriving careers well into their 80s. Take Mary Berry who is still featuring in the BBC’s TV shows in her 80’s. And there is Pru Leith who not only has a highly successful career, but has also found love again and remarried at age 76!
Work And Contribution
Millennials are certainly likely to need to continue working into their 70s judging by the pension crisis. I’ve always advised my own daughters to pursue work they love. It’s especially important if you’re a millennial to do work you really enjoy, given you may have to be doing it for a very long time.
Certainly, in my own case, after 14 years in business, I’m still looking to contribute in more meaningful ways, and engage in activities that are truly fulfilling for me on a personal level. I’m a different person today to the one who first started out in business in 2004. My business skills are honed by now, adding to the depth of expertise I can offer in my core topic of intellectual property.
Intellectual Property is what enables people to protect what’s theirs, their market share, avoid having their best ideas ripped off and copied, and more. So, it’s a subject that is inherently intertwined with business.
That’s why I set up my second business to provide online courses and coaching. It means I can help people make the most of their ideas, decide what to protect, how to choose a good name and so on as part of a coaching service if they need such help.
I have big plans for Azrights International Ltd. The Legally Branded Academy online course that I’ve created will soon be rolled out to medium-sized businesses. It’s currently suitable for start-ups and small businesses and is the culmination of 6 years’ work distilling intellectual property to a few basic processes that businesses need to adopt. So, I can help any business to introduce systems and processes to protect their Intellectual Property on an ongoing basis as they develop new ideas and projects.
You see, much of IP protection happens very early on. The very act of choosing names, making decisions to commission branding, websites, apps and the like, deciding what information to reveal to others, how to promote new concepts and so on have significant implications on a company’s IP prospects. These steps necessarily happen before a lawyer is even consulted. So, having insight about what to do and what not to do at various touch points is essential for businesses to take on board.
IP is an essential business skill. It’s not just a legal subject to leave to the lawyers. Without it, you’re at a disadvantage when implementing new ideas and projects in your business in today’s digital economy. I can make a greater contribution by adding business coaching to the services I offer. It’s exciting to use my knowledge and skills in new ways and I am intending to expand my topics to include related non-law ones too such as the marketing considerations that impact branding and naming.
The entire activity of branding is closely related to intellectual property, and yet there are a lot of people selling design services under the umbrella of branding. Many people believe that a brand is a logo! So, this is a topic that needs greater professionalism to be brought to bear. Anyone who is choosing names and doesn’t understand the IP implications of naming needs to upskill themselves urgently. They can do so by getting Legally Branded Academy.
Expanding the topics I know deeply means I can keep learning, something I love to do, and then contribute in wider ways.
Life is short and at the end of the day you’re going to ask yourself the question, or your children will wonder on your behalf, what was it all about, what were you up to during your short time on earth?
I believe that what we do can touch other people’s lives in ways we’ll never know. So, it’s not necessarily my own visible achievements that will ultimately matter the most. Who knows how others might be impacted or benefit from my existence or ideas?
The important thing is to continue contributing to the world. I’m so pleased the ranks of “olderpreneurs” look likely to swell further in the future. Olderpreneurs have wisdom and experience and so much to give. They also have many years of productive work ahead of them.
Why it’s not enough to simply register a trade mark
Why it’s important to take great care of trade marks
Why failing to address IP can result in lost opportunities
What to do when you discover gaps in your trade mark protection
It is surprisingly easy to overlook the importance of IP in the early stages of the creative process. Some people believe that tasks like choosing a business name for a new product or service do not involve legal considerations, that they can pick any name, do a check on Google, and if nothing untoward is found, proceed to use the name.
It’s actually trade marks that govern ownership rights in names, so it’s essential to search the trade mark registers. A Google search is not enough. Not everything you need to know about a name shows up on Google. People risk losing everything overnight when they use names that don’t take account of registered trade marks of others.
Online searching has its place but it’s no substitute for information focused on transforming ideas into reality. While there’s a wealth of information on the web, a crucial issue when it comes to intellectual property advice online is that much of what you find is generic, sometimes outdated, inaccurate, conflicting, and may vary depending on where you’re based.
If you’re an inventor, writer, coach, marketer, creative or entrepreneur, you need to know how to identify the various IP rights you’ll be creating as you turn ideas into reality. Some basic tools at your fingertips will help you take initial steps to protect IP like doing due diligence.
When you have new ideas to implement, you’ll need to know the right actions to take, the right processes to use to protect IP that’s being created.
If you discover gaps in your trade mark protection, find out how to address them with the help of education and DIY. And consult a lawyer if you have remaining questions.
“The internet has revolutionised the way we look for information, entertainment, and even relationships… So it’s increasingly common for businesses to look for legal advice online, too.”
“If you don’t know what you don’t know, how can you search for it or know whether you’ve found out everything you need to know? …You need to learn to do things properly if you’re going to do your own trademark registration.”
Thank you for listening!
Look into my Legally Branded Academy Course to guide you along the way to a successful implementation of ideas and save yourself significant amounts of time doing your own researches!
If you have any questions, connect with me on your preferred social media platform. I’d love to help! And if you’ve learned from this series of podcasts, do consider leaving a review.
The way copyright works to protect an app provides useful insights into copyright generally. Essentially, the important point to hold onto about copyright is that the default rules mean that the creator of the app will be the owner of the copyright in it rather than you the person who pays for the development work.
Therefore, an important first step before you select the right developer is to make sure they will be happy to give you a copyright in the end product.
However, don’t just have a verbal agreement on this point as that’s not enough under the law. You’ll need to reflect this in writing and also have a good development agreement in place. That agreement should clearly specify what is the be developed, the phases of the development, the payment plan, and how to resolve any disputes that may arise. Don’t agree to terms that only give you copyright when the project is concluded and you’ve paid for it. If for any reason you need to part company with the developer before then, you will want to have the source code and all rights in the work so you can find another developer to finish the work.
It’s also important to be mindful about the limitations of copyright protection. Copyright protects the expression of an idea rather than an idea itself.
This means that if I publish a recipe for how to make rabbit pie, my copyright in the recipe isn’t going to prevent you or anyone else from making the rabbit pie using my recipe. You would not be infringing my copyright in doing so.
If, on the other hand, you copied my recipe and distributed it to others, then my rights would be infringed because copyright protects the way I’ve expressed my idea. The law gives the copyright owner the exclusive right to copy the recipe in order to distribute it to others.
Translating that into how copyright protects an app means that if someone sees your app and decides they can do better than you, say you’re Magic Cabs and an Uber comes along, looks at your app, and thinks, this is a good idea, I’ll also develop an app along similar lines, they can do so without infringing your copyright. The only way they would be infringing your copyright is if they actually copied the code of your app. But if they got the idea from seeing your app and then go away and implemented the idea in their own way they would not be infringing your copyright.
So, when you have an idea for a new app bear in mind that innovation alone is no guarantee of success. You need to do thorough research, set your marketing strategy, and consider how best to develop the app to meet a market need. You can achieve a strong barrier to entry with the name you use for your app if it’s well conceived and addresses a market need. Be sure to pay close attention to the intellectual property rights around names before you buy domain names.
If you need to raise investment, while you may believe your idea is unique, bear in mind that investors will often be approached by numerous start-ups, some of whom may have very similar apps. So, don’t make the fundamental error of asking them to sign a non-disclosure or confidentiality agreement to look at your app idea. You need to have taken all the necessary steps to protect your idea before you turn to investors. There should at least be a proof of concept for them to see, and if yours is a product that could be patented, then you need to file the patent-pending application before discussing the idea with third parties. Only confidential ideas that are not in the public domain are patentable.
So, once you’re ready to discuss your idea with investors you should be in a position to do it openly without need of NDAs.
Essentially, there is no guaranteed formula for success. There will be aspects to your business plan which you cannot control, yet they may have a great impact on your chances of success. Factors include national and global economic climate, geographic location, trends in popular culture, access to valuable contacts. Plain old luck also plays a part.
Obtaining financing is not necessarily about the technical feasibility or the originality of the idea itself. Sometimes, it can be more about you as a person, and whether you are aware of the qualities and skill sets needed to convince the right people to support you.
Private investors (also known as Venture Capitalists or Angel Investors) take a lot of interest in the make-up of the team. Often, they are very interested in the people that are backing the idea. They are predominately looking for a person who, as one investor put it, has the ‘disease of entrepreneurism’. For most investors, the personal dimension is so important that they would even invest in an average idea if the people were right. This suggests that if you’re looking for financial backing for your app, you should have entrepreneur drive, and some of the key skills that potential investors will look for in you are inventiveness; creative ability; the ability to package and communicate ideas. Without this, it is difficult to get the necessary investor confidence.
This blog has highlighted how copyright works, what it does and doesn’t protect, and the importance of first protecting your idea before turning to investors for funding.
Given the traits investors will look for before investing in your ideas, there are areas of self-development to consider if your vision is for something big. Focus on developing some key qualities, such as leading a team, which is essential for success in business. You’ll need to ‘re-invent’ yourself or find the right team to work with who can make up skills that may be lacking in you.
Even if an idea involves creating something tangible, the product resulting from that idea has many components, which are intangibles, that are necessary to its existence. So if you happen to have a great idea, how do you protect it? In this episode, find out how you can address the challenges of protecting intellectual property.
The challenges of protecting intellectual property
The best way to begin to address intellectual property
How to reduce the legal costs
The intangibles and their impact
How to make it easier to build management of IP in the day to day running of your venture
For many people, an idea is their key to economic success. Therefore, being able to protect its resulting output as intellectual property is crucial if the business is to grow in value.
People assume that they automatically own intellectual property, but this is not true. An action is required to turn an idea into IP.
Leveraging IP is how the value embedded in it is realised.
A new venture, when it’s just in your head, that’s when you need to understand the risks and opportunities.
The best way to achieve success and avoid wasting unnecessary time and energy down the line is to learn the essentials of trademark and other intellectual property that are involved when turning ideas into something that’s out in the real world.
Intangible assets cannot be measured unless they are managed.
For any new venture, the time to think about IP protection and intangibles is when writing the business plan. And the business plan, when it’s written, should set the strategy on IP matters.
To avoid losing an opportunity and create valuable intellectual property, first identify what it is you’re going to create, what actions you need to take to capture it and, depending on the IP in question, what other actions you need to take.
Conduct proper checks of trademark registers. It’s also possible to create a liability instead of an asset where proper checks of trademarks registers aren’t first undertaken.
Consider IP really early on in the early stages of a project. Get a good understanding of IP and eliminate the risks that dealing with IP in a piecemeal fashion has.
Focus on the intangibles. This is the way you can preserve the investment of your business in its brand, creative efforts, design, and technology.
“The name of the game with intellectual property is to be proactive in the early stages of any project when turning an idea into something concrete in the real world.”
“IP knowledge and skills are how you protect yourself. And even if you intend to use a lawyer, you need to know some of it yourself. It’s just not an option to not understand intellectual property in this day and age.”
Thank you for listening!
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