Intellectual property for start-ups in a post-COVID world: part two – trade marks

This series of articles explores the effect of COVID-19-related disruption on start-ups’ management and monetisation of intellectual property (IP), giving practical guidance to start-ups to improve their position in the market in the future.

Managing start-ups’ trade marks in a post-COVID-19 world

For IP-heavy companies, trade marks can be an incredibly important commercial asset. For start-ups in particular, whose value is often largely based on their product’s commercial potential but also their brand equity, protecting those assets through a trade mark filing programme is essential.

Even under normal circumstances, there can be uncertainty around what trade marks protect, how they can secure and add value to a start-up and how they are best managed. Now, in the wake of COVID-19, start-ups also need to understand how ‘normal’ management of trade marks needs to change, given the transformation their companies, and their markets, are experiencing during this unprecedented time.

What’s stayed the same?

Before the COVID-19 disruption, strategic management of trade marks would have been based on certain assumptions, for example, that funding was reasonably accessible, that brands’ priorities were largely based on their commercial circumstances alone and that markets were relatively predictable. Now, none of this can be taken for granted.

However, start-ups which need to conserve cash, reprioritise and make choices to keep their business going, can still achieve a level of trade mark protection by pivoting their strategy.

Not everything has changed in the way start-ups should think about trade marks.

Trade marks are still badges of origin

A trade mark distinguishes the goods or services of one business from another. Trade marks include (but are not limited to) single words, a string of words, logos, colours, smells and sounds. Trade marks play a fundamental role in consumers’ recognition of goods and association of those goods with a particular business. Organisations can own an unlimited number of trade marks, including primary brands, secondary brands and multiple logo(s). Unlike most IP rights, if trade marks are used and renewed, they can last indefinitely.

Trade marks must still satisfy certain requirements to be registrable

A trade mark must be distinctive and cannot be descriptive in respect of the goods/services covered.

Trade marks can still be registered or unregistered IP rights

Whilst it is not compulsory to register a trade mark, it is advisable to do so where possible, as there are many commercial and legal benefits, including:

  • Giving notice of the trade mark holders’ rights to third parties, thereby deterring competitors from using identical or similar words, logos, slogans and colours
  • Reducing the cost of enforcement
  • Adding value to the business’s asset register
  • Providing leverage in disputes and commercial negotiations
  • Licensing to third parties to generate royalties or to use as security to raise finance

Before adopting a trade mark, it is still prudent to check it is available for use

Trade mark searches help evaluate the infringement risk as well as the likelihood of successful registration of a trade mark. Difficulties may arise should a trade mark conflict with one registered earlier, and potentially spark an expensive and commercially embarrassing dispute, which might prove fatal to a fledgling brand. Searches can be brief and narrow in scope or more comprehensive, to identify similar marks covering similar goods and services.

What’s changing?

Post-COVID-19, there continues to be a strong incentive to register trade marks. However, different commercial drivers, changing markets and alternative access to funding mean that start-ups may have to conserve cash and make strategic choices. Start-ups can prioritise the following actions now:

Proceed to a trade mark filing without arranging searches

In some jurisdictions, the trade mark offices will issue a report highlighting any existing trade marks the examiner feels may be confusingly similar. Relying solely on this report will save on cost but increases risk.

Register key trade marks only

Lots of brand assets can be protected by trade marks, for example, a company name, a product name or a logo. To help reduce costs in the short term, one option is to identify all of the assets and protect just one or two immediately, with the remainder in the next 12 months.

It is worth bearing in mind that unregistered trade mark rights can be acquired in the UK. Simply using a trade mark will generate goodwill in that mark. However, unregistered trade mark rights are more difficult and expensive to enforce. As such, a trade mark registration should be obtained as soon as practical.

Limit the goods and services associated with a trade mark

A trade mark application must designate specific goods and services for which protection is sought. Ordinarily, businesses will list the goods and services they currently offer as well as goods and services they may offer in future, and finally, the goods and services they want to prevent others from using or registering.

A trade mark application that covers fewer classes goods and services will reduce costs in the short term but with a lower level of protection. Further applications can be filed later, covering additional goods and services. This strategy may not reduce the costs overall as multiple applications are required but it will assist with cashflow.

Delay obtaining trade marks abroad

Trade marks are territorial rights. As such, it is advisable file trade mark applications in the countries where they are going to be used, and where it is prudent to stop others from using them. However, the first trade mark application begins a six-month priority period, wherein trade marks filed elsewhere during this time are back-dated to the original filing date. This will help to spread the costs of trade mark filings over six months, and will ensure your rights are effective in all territories from the date of your original application.

Please note that the above information is not intended to be comprehensive and should be discussed with a qualified trade mark attorney.

Author: Rachel Garrod, associate trade mark attorney at Appleyard Lees IP LLP.

Intellectual property for start-ups in a post-COVID world: part one – patents

Intellectual property for start-ups in a post-COVID world is a series of articles exploring the effect of COVID-related disruption on start-ups’ management and monetisation of intellectual property (IP), an essential consideration for start-ups in the growth and development phase.

These articles focus on specific challenges start-ups are facing right now. Changes in the way start-ups could secure and manage patents and trade marks, address other relevant legal matters, attract investment, and protect IP on a budget, are being driven by these challenges. We provide practical guidance on how to manage your IP now in order to improve the position of your start-up in the market in the future, whatever that may look like.

Managing start-ups’ patents in a post-COVID world

Patents are one of the most well-known types of intellectual property (IP). However, what can be patented is often less understood by new entrepreneurs and innovators.

What’s stayed the same?

Not everything with respect to patents for start-ups is changing. Some things remain unchanged:

Patents are used to protect inventions: This includes new products, product manufacturing methods/processes, and methods for controlling a process or analysing data.  A new logo, product or company name is not patentable, as it is not an invention. Instead, these are protected by trade mark, which will be discussed in a later article in this series.

Inventions must be new: Patents are a type of registered right. An invention must fulfil specific criteria to be patented.  Importantly, the invention must be new; this is assessed with respect to everything that is already in the public domain, in any format, in any language, in any country, at the time a patent is sought.

Secrecy is important: Publicly disclosing the invention in any way, such as via a press release, an academic paper, a conference or trade show presentation, or even just talking about your idea casually, may mean a patent cannot be obtained. Start-ups often need to talk to investors or funding bodies about their work in order to raise money for the business, including money which might be spent obtaining a patent.  These discussions should be confidential as well, through confidentiality agreements or non-disclosure agreements (NDAs).

Patent holders can stop competitors from making or selling their invention: Patents do not confer a right to start making or selling a new product, or to use a new method. Rather, a patent holder has the right to stop another company exploiting his or her invention without permission.

Patents are national IP rights, meaning that a patent issued in a particular country is enforceable against a company that is infringing the patent in that country.  Patents therefore should be sought in the countries where the invention will be commercialised. This does not necessarily mean an invention must be patented all over the world. Often it is sufficient to seek patents in the company’s largest markets only, such as Europe, the USA and China.

Ownership of inventions varies around the world: In some countries, including the UK, if an employee invents something as part of their normal duties, the company owns the invention and the right to apply for a patent.  However, if someone in your marketing team invents something, they may own the invention themselves. This needs to be considered carefully, particularly if a company hires contractors or academics to undertake research and development.

What’s changing? 

Pre-COVID and post-COVID, the reasons for patenting your invention are largely the same. Patenting an invention can be relatively expensive for start-ups, who sometimes, understandably, question the value of IP. However, patenting an invention is still wise, because patents can help start-ups to:

  • Secure market position and financial return on commercially successful innovations, by preventing third parties from using their patented inventions,
  • Obtain greater negotiating power when collaborating with other companies, and
  • Attract investment partners and support business expansion, as they demonstrate that a company has a high level of technical expertise.

However, as we begin to experience the effects of COVID-related disruption, start-ups in particular may need to make difficult decisions. With limited resources, what should a start-up prioritise now, with respect to their inventions and approach to patents?

Some start-ups may find it more difficult to begin commercialising their inventions at this time, because commercial partners may be more difficult to find, it’s not the right time to launch a product on the market, or because manufacturing has stopped. In the meantime, it would be wise to:

  • Delay the patent process – this can buy valuable time, to allow manufacturing to re-start, funding channels to open up once more, or lab-based development to begin again. More information on slowing down the patent process can be found here.
  • Keep ideas secret– if a start-up has not started the patent process yet, the most cost-effective way to protect their inventions during this time may be to simply keep their inventions secret. As long as the inventions are kept secret, a patent application can be filed for the inventions at a later date.

During lockdown on the movement of people, inventors may have more time for IP-related admin, which is often overlooked in busier times.  For example, start-ups could use this period to:

  • Develop processes for invention capture and protection within the company – implementing these processes will help the company to grow its patent portfolio when the business expands, and employees become busier.
  • Brainstorm around their existing inventions in order to identify work-arounds or other ways their inventions could be implemented – this could help to broaden the scope of any patent applications they file, and to strengthen their patent portfolio.
  • Writing-up existing ideas using invention disclosure forms – this, in conjunction with the brainstorming, can ensure an invention (and all its variants) has been fully thought through. Patent attorneys want as much technical information as possible when drafting a patent application, so spending time writing-up ideas now means the patent drafting process could be smoother and quicker.
  • Identify their competitors or potential partners – keeping an eye on what other players in a field are doing is important as it could spark innovation or suggest a different avenue to explore. It could also help companies to identify potential R&D or commercialisation partners, potential licensees (which is a revenue-stream that is often overlooked), or potential problems.
  • Identify their primary and secondary markets – companies need to think carefully about where they are likely to make and sell their inventions, as well as where their competitors might be located. Patents last for twenty years, so companies need to look ahead and think about which markets might become important and where manufacturing hubs may be located in the future. This can help to determine companies’ patent filing strategies.  Spending the time on this now means start-ups have a strategy they can refer to when they start or restart the patent process.

Author: Parminder Lally, Senior Associate at Appleyard Lees IP LLP.

IP audits and the UKIPO’s ‘IP Audit Plus’ scheme

Johannes Biniok is a European patent attorney. Johannes advises clients seeking to protect their technology, particularly by means of patents, utility models and industrial designs. Johannes works closely with a diverse range of clients, from individuals to FTSE 250 companies. His work is equally diverse, ranging from gas turbine engines to subsea electrical couplings and he has recently been working on public safety measures.

The key benefits of an IP audit under the ‘IP Audit Plus’ scheme:

  • Intellectual property can make a business more attractive to investors, by securing innovation and brands as assets.
  • UK businesses can apply to the UKIPO for funding to cover some of the audit cost.
  • Further funding is now being provided to help businesses take forward the recommendations coming out of the audit.

IP audits – getting started with intellectual property (IP)

Intellectual property (IP) can help attract funding and investors, by securing a business’ innovation and brand.

Unlike other business assets, such as machinery or property, IP is intangible and therefore much more difficult to pinpoint. In addition, there tends to be a lack of awareness of the benefits that secured IP can provide.

The UK Intellectual Property Office’s (UKIPO) ‘IP Audits Plus’ scheme provides a convenient route into the world of IP, as UK businesses can apply for funding under this scheme, to cover the majority of the cost[1] of an IP audit.

Applications for funding can be made through Innovate UK Edge: https://www.innovateukedge.ukri.org/contact-us.

 

What is an IP audit?

An IP audit is a formalised process of tasking an IP professional (and sometimes a whole team of IP professionals) to review the IP of a business with the goal of identifying and cataloguing the business’ potential patents, trade marks or designs, and making recommendations for improving its IP position.

Examples of IP:

Patents

Trade marks

Designs

What are the outcomes of an IP audit?

An IP audit concludes with a final report which summarises all IP that has been discovered and sets out a recommendation for how the business can best protect and utilise its IP.

The value of such a report can be immense, setting out business assets hitherto unnoticed and so providing a better understanding of the business’s assets and, ultimately, value. Thus, the contents of the final report may well inform decisions concerning the future of the business.

In some cases, it may be beneficial to further analyse the findings set out in the final report, such as a valuation of the identified IP assets in order to put a monetary value against each IP asset.

Other further actions that may be taken in view of the final report may involve measures to protect the IP assets set out in the final report.

Funding for actioning the IP audit report

The IPO has recently launched a new IP support scheme for businesses that have completed a part-funded IP audit between April 2020 and March 2022.

The scheme provides businesses with additional funding[2] to take forward some of the recommendations provided within the IP audit report.

Further details can be found here: https://www.citma.org.uk/resources/uk-ipo-launches-new-ip-support-scheme-mb21.html

[1] Total budget capped at 3000GBP (incl. VAT); IPO contribution 2500GBP (incl. VAT); business contribution of 500GBP (incl. VAT).

[2] 5000GBP for professional fees (does not cover any official fees)

Visit our start-up IP insight collection, for more analysis of the IP issues relevant to start-up businesses.

Someone’s copying my invention! What should I do?

About the authors:

Parminder Lally is a senior associate at Appleyard Lees IP LLP. Parminder specialises in drafting and prosecuting patent applications for computer-implemented inventions. She has built a substantial reputation working with high-growth start-ups, spin-outs and SMEs in Cambridge, and has in-house experience.

Simon Ambroz is a trainee patent attorney. He primarily specialises in prosecuting and drafting patent applications for computer-implemented inventions and helping start-ups and SMEs to grow.

Start-ups should consider protecting their technical innovation by filing a patent application. Some reasons for doing so are explained in our earlier article here: https://appleyardleesgreenshoots.com/intellectual-property-for-start-ups-in-a-post-covid-world/.

Once your application for a UK patent is granted, the resulting granted patent gives you the right to prevent others from making, disposing of (e.g. selling or supplying), offering to dispose of, using, importing, or keeping your invention in the UK, where your invention is defined by the claims of your granted patent. It is important to note that it is possible to enforce your patent rights against the others only after the patent has granted. However, the journey to the grant of a patent may take several years, usually around four and a half years in the UK. What do you do if, before you have obtained a granted patent, a third party starts selling a product that looks like your invention?  Is there anything you can do to stop the third party?  Does your patent application provide you with any rights before the patent is granted? This article answers these questions.

Provisional protection in the UK

Many UK-based companies file their patent applications in the UK first, and then a year later, may file patent applications in other jurisdictions. So, we first look at whether you have any pre-grant rights in the UK.

In the UK, you may benefit from provisional protection. In short, where an application has been published, the applicant has the same right to bring infringement proceedings for any acts occurring between publication and grant that would eventually infringe the patent. However, there are certain conditions for obtaining provisional protection.

Specifically,

  • the application must be published in English;
  • the infringement proceedings must begin after the patent is granted; and
  • the infringing act must infringe the claims as originally published as well as the claims in the granted patent.

With respect to the last point, if the patent is granted with claims of a different scope than the published claims of the patent application, the amount of damages awarded is reduced, where it was not reasonable to expect that a patent covering the act of infringement would be granted.

Typically, patent applications are published 18 months from the earliest priority date. However, if you suspect someone is copying your invention without your permission, you can bring publication forward so that you can benefit from the provisional protection provided by the publication of your patent application. It is possible to request early publication of your UK patent application. A reason for this expedition is needed. Possible infringement is a valid reason for early publication.

After early publication is requested, you will most likely want to use every other tool in the toolbox to expedite prosecution of the patent application because as mentioned above, only granted patents may be enforced. For example, in the UK and Europe, it is possible to request the search and examination processes be accelerated. In the UK a reason for the acceleration is required, whereas acceleration can be requested at the EPO without needing to give a reason. There are also other things that you can do to speed-up the process to getting a granted patent. At Appleyard Lees, we have the expertise to help you when you find yourself in this situation.

Provisional protection in other countries

As you may know, patents are jurisdictional. It means that if you have a UK patent, but you want to protect your invention in Germany, you cannot use the UK patent to enforce your rights in Germany. You will need a patent in Germany as well.

As mentioned above, many UK companies start with a UK patent application.  To spread-out some of the costs, UK companies may file a PCT patent application a year later.  A patent application filed under the PCT scheme is sometimes called an “international application”. The main benefit of the PCT scheme is that it allows you to pursue patent protection in multiple countries via a single patent application. Once you file an international application, you have several months (up to 30 or 31 months from the earliest priority date) to decide in which countries you want to obtain patent protection. After you decide in which countries you want to protect your invention, you must ‘convert’ the PCT application into national patent applications in the countries of interest.  In most instances, this means filing some forms at the national patent office of the countries you are interested in, and paying patent office fees, and in some cases, filing a translation of your patent application in the local language. After this ‘conversion’ is performed, each national patent application gives you the same rights as if the patent application was initially filed in that country.

However, how does provisional protection work under the PCT scheme?

The good news for UK companies is that since your PCT publication will be prepared and published in English, you will automatically receive provisional protection in certain countries where English is an official language, such as the USA and Canada, without needing to take any specific action. This is good news because the USA and Canada are important markets for many companies. Of course, you would still need to obtain granted patents in these countries if you wish to enforce your patents and benefit from provisional protection.

The laws of some countries, such as Brazil, Mexico, and Japan do not provide provisional protection. The only way of obtaining enforceable rights in these countries, and many others, is by filing your patent application in these countries (e.g. by ‘converting’ your PCT application into a Japanese patent application), providing a full translation of the entire specification and prosecuting the patent application to the grant.

It is also possible to obtain provisional protection in Europe. There are two methods to do so.  Provisional protection may be obtained by ‘converting’ your PCT patent application into a European patent application (by taking the necessary steps at the European Patent Office). Alternatively, provisional protection may be obtained by ‘converting’ your PCT application into a national patent application in a particular country in Europe (e.g. Germany Which of these two methods you use depends on how many European countries you wish to obtain patents in, but the following steps to obtain provisional protection apply to both methods.  Briefly, you will need to translate the claims of your PCT application into the official language of each country in which you wish to obtain provisional protection, and file the claims at the relevant patent office. For example, if you want to obtain provisional protection in the Czech Republic, you will need to translate your claims into Czech and file them at the Czech patent office.  The translation of the claims will be published, which satisfies one of the above-mentioned conditions to obtain provisional protection.

Conclusion

If you have filed a patent application and are worried that someone may be copying your invention without your permission, get in touch with us.  We can advise you on whether you have, or will be able to get, provisional protection, and what steps you need to take to get a granted patent you could enforce.  There are other actions we can take to help you deal with any potential infringers too.  If you find yourself in this situation, do not hesitate to contact any one of the patent experts at Appleyard Lees for guidance.

 

Billion Dollar Code: how start-ups can win the Quids Game

Parminder Lally is a senior associate at Appleyard Lees IP LLP. Parminder specialises in drafting and prosecuting patent applications for computer-implemented inventions. She has built a substantial reputation working with high-growth start-ups, spin-outs and SMEs in Cambridge, and has in-house experience.

Everyone is talking about Squid Game at the moment, in which contestants may win a prize of 45.6 billion, but there’s another new Netflix series about the real-life story of how a start-up lost a billion dollars: The Billion Dollar Code. 

Unfortunately, many of the mistakes that the start-up in The Billion Dollar Code made are still being made by start-ups today. Given there is so much at stake, we highlight some of the mistakes made by the start-up in this article so that you can avoid making the same errors. (Please note, this article contains spoilers, and the article is based on the series, which is a dramatisation of real events).

Mistake 1 – Not realising they had something worth stealing

The start-up in The Billion Dollar Code is based on a group of hackers and artists in Berlin in the early 1990s, who obtained funding for a project from Deutsche Telekom. The project was called “TerraVision” and it provided people with a way to browse the Earth. TerraVision was a program that allowed users to navigate to a particular area on the planet and to then “fly in” closer to see the area in more detail. They developed techniques that made the “flying in” process smooth, so that the change in resolution as a user got closer to a location of interest was smooth and not jerky. This was a difficult technical challenge, given the processing power and memory required and the limitations of computers of the time.

In the series, the group appear to consider TerraVision a cool art project with some computing behind it. They did not seem to recognise that they might really have developed a new technology altogether or something that could be commercialised. This is something we see fairly regularly: start-ups that might not think of themselves as being tech businesses sometimes come-up with novel software that may have wider applications, and start-ups that are very technology-driven may dismiss their creative output as being unprotectable. As a result, start-ups can sometimes fail to identify parts of their business that are worth protecting.

There are lots of different types of intellectual property rights, and it is worth talking to IP specialists at an early stage to help you to identify the parts of your business that could be protected.

In this video, watch Appleyard Lees patent and trade mark attorneys Paul Beynon and Olivia Hamilton work with a fictitious inventor, played by partner Richard Bray, to audit his invention for protectable intellectual property. This and more resources can be found at www.appleyardlees.com/ip-for-start-ups.

Mistake 2 – Disclosure to the public

In the series, the start-up and Deutsche Telekom unveiled TerraVision at an international tech conference. Although it is not explicitly mentioned in the series, it appears the public disclosure of TerraVision was done before any patent application for their technology had been filed. In fact, in the real-life case on which the series is based, the technology had been disclosed to various parties (including those who were involved in the development of Google Earth) before a patent application was filed.

In many jurisdictions, including the UK, Europe and China, any such public disclosure would prevent you from patenting your invention because patents are only granted for inventions that are not already in the public domain. While some jurisdictions have grace periods that enable you to file a patent application some time after you have disclosed the invention to the public, not every jurisdiction does and you can therefore serious negatively impact your chances of protecting your invention in some countries.

So, it is better to file patent applications before making any public or non-confidential disclosure. Otherwise, if you try to sue someone for infringing your patent, they might claim your patent is invalid because of your own prior disclosures. This is essentially what happens in the series and in the real-life case. Due to the start-up’s own error, their patent was found to be invalid and so could not be enforced against Google.

Correct move – Filing a patent application for their software

Let’s take a quick break from the mistakes and acknowledge what the start-up in the series did right: they filed a patent application for their invention. If they had not done so, they would not have obtained a granted patent for their invention and consequently, they could not have approached Google about patent licensing and a potential collaboration, or sued Google for patent infringement.

Although the underlying code behind their software invention may have been protected by copyright, it can be very difficult to successfully sue someone who has allegedly copied the code. For example, in some jurisdictions, infringement requires a substantial amount of the code to have been copied. If someone’s code performs the same functions as your code, but does so using different code, then there is no copyright infringement of your code. Copyright only protects the code that is written, not the functions performed by the code. In contrast, patents protect the functions, and how those functions are implemented in code is irrelevant. Thus, patents provide broader protection for software compared with copyright.

Therefore, it was good that the start-up filed a patent application for their innovation. Patents provide start-ups with options for revenue generation (licensing, acquisition) and collaboration (more negotiating power). If you’d like to know more about why patents can be useful for start-ups, take a look at this article: https://appleyardleesgreenshoots.com/intellectual-property-for-start-ups-in-a-post-covid-world/

Back to the errors…

Mistake 3 – Being too trusting of third parties

In the series, one of the founders of the start-up excitedly tells another tech entrepreneur the details of the TerraVision algorithm. This is yet another disclosure of the invention. The founder is naïve and thinks that he is sharing his idea with another like-minded individual who is not going to do anything nefarious. Sadly, that turns out not to be true. In the series, this tech entrepreneur goes on to become part of the team that develops Google Earth, which was released. Something similar takes place in the real-life story too. As a result, proprietary information relating to TerraVision had been given away for free to a company that was better funded and more legally-savvy.

We always advise start-ups to trust no-one (except of course, their lawyers)! Before speaking to a third party about funding, or commercialisation, or anything relating to your technology or innovation, ask the third party to sign a Non-Disclosure Agreement or Confidentiality agreement, and make sure they understand that the information you’re providing them is strictly confidential.

We can help with this – our team of IP solicitors can provide you with suitable agreements. They can also advise you on IP ownership and other commercial considerations, which start-ups sometimes overlook: https://appleyardleesgreenshoots.com/intellectual-property-for-start-ups-in-a-post-covid-world-part-two-managing-commercial-ip/

 

Mistake 4 – Trying to do legal stuff themselves

In the series, one of the founders appears to have written their patent application himself and the start-up appears to have submitted their patent applications to at least the US Patent Office themselves. They also attend meetings with, and reply to emails from, Google about the potential purchase of their patent without getting a lawyer involved.

We have seen start-ups do this, and we wish we could say that this happens less often now. We know that start-ups have limited budgets, and we know that some people think seeking legal advice is expensive. Yes, using a patent attorney to draft and file a patent application is more expensive than if you do it yourself, but there are so many reasons to allocate some of your budget towards engaging a qualified patent attorney.

For example, the cost of a patent application may seem expensive, but it could lead to your business being acquired by a tech giant for tens or hundreds of millions of pounds. A recent report by the World Intellectual Property Office showed that, for example, hundreds of AI-based companies have been acquired since 1998, and many of these are for staggeringly-high sums. We are often involved in the due diligence exercise that takes place when a company is in the process of being acquired, and we know that lawyers on the other side will be looking very closely at the patent applications, as well as other legal documentation. We know that DIY patent applications are a red-flag to many potential acquiring companies.

We have also seen start-ups negotiate contracts with multinationals themselves. Legal contracts are complex, often very lengthy, and usually difficult to understand. The multinational will have a team of lawyers on their side ensuring that the contract favours them, so it is hard to comprehend why a start-up would try to negotiate terms of a contract on their own and still expect a good outcome.

If you’re a start-up, we can help you with IP matters without breaking the bank! We are happy to have initial discussions with start-ups for free, and we often provide other useful information to start-ups we work with such as sources of funding. We can put together an IP action plan for you that includes recommendations on what you need to do or think about, and when, so that you can prioritise, plan and budget for managing your IP.

Conclusion

If you’re a start-up and would like to know whether any aspects of your business are protectable using IP rights, get in touch with an attorney at Appleyard Lees or book a free IP audit at www.appleyardlees.com/ip-for-start-ups.

 

Understanding and managing your credit rating – Mazars WEBINAR Recording

Are you concerned about how you can best manage your credit rating? As part of our focus on issues currently impacting businesses, we have been spending time providing support to corporates in relation to their credit rating and the benefits that could be achieved by proactively managing this.

For more information check out the recording of our recent webinar HERE