So when should you seek IP advice? My top 3 tips!

01 May 2017

Q. So when should you seek IP advice?


The Internet is relatively quiet on this important question. Most business/startup advice websites that I’ve come across will tell that you should seek IP advice; but the critical question is WHEN? Seek advice too soon; you may end up wasting your limited resources because your business idea is not fully developed and the advice will be conditional on what you do next. Seek advice too late; you run the real risk that you’ve undermined your ability to protect the IP you’ve created; e.g. promoting your invention to the public on your FB page, oblivious to the fact that by doing so you’ve already scuppered your chances of patenting it.

Here’s my top 3 tips for making this important decision:

1. Have a clear understanding of what your business idea actually is. If you can write a brief statement (150 words) describing your idea which would make sense to an outsider then you know you are on the right tracks.

2. Ensure that your idea is viable. Some simple Google searches are a good place to start. E.g. has anyone thought of your idea already? If so, can you amend your concept to take account of this?

3. Visit the website of your national Intellectual Property Office; read through its free IP guides; have you taken all the actions that you can that these guides suggest?

Only when you have completed these three steps do you really need to seriously think about seeking external IP advice to take your startup idea to the next stage. Hope this helps!

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