You want to proceed safely and profitably in a competitive, innovative field. Your “IP strategy” is the plan for that. It may involve freedom to operate searches, filing patents in the countries you want to do business in, monitoring competitor patent families and attacking them at opportune times, buying or selling IP assets, or internalizing certain aspects of your IP processes to improve controls and reduce cost.
You may wish to make use of trade secrets rather than patents. Brand identity (see “Trade-marks” below) may be more important than patent protection, or may be useful when patent protection is not available. And, where are you going to market? Each country requires its own patent application, and you have a year from the date of filing in any one country to file in every other country, but the same basic application can be used to form the basis of all of the applications in every country.
I will prepare your IP Strategy with you, and if you wish, I will take it forward.
For associates: I am a Canadian Associate with competitive prices, and I personally do all the work.
For direct clients: patents are used to protect and defend tangible inventions, improvements, and functional innovations. Patents take the form of a written, illustrated (usually) document describing the invention and how it is different from what has gone before.
The steps include: determining patentability (includes searching); drafting potential claims; discussing possible variations and applications of the invention, and getting them on paper; determining inventors and owner; filing the application; determining which other countries you wish to file a patent in (within one year of filing date); paying annual fees to keep application pending; requesting examination (within 5 years of filing date); arguing with the Patent Office about the exact form of the claims; getting allowance; paying the grant fee; and paying annual maintenance fees until expiry of the patent 20 years from filing.
Trademarks are a branding element that you use to distinguish your wares or services from those of other vendors. Brands you may be familiar with are Dairyland™, Apple™, and President’s Choice™. Brands can signify quality, familiarity, luxury, or wholesomeness. A good brand is a valuable asset.
A trade-mark application is a relatively simple document, consisting of the identification of the mark, the identity of the owner, the wares and/or services description, and the date of first use in commerce. Despite the apparent simplicity of the submission, trade-mark choice and registration can be a very complex process and subject to fatal errors. For this reason, it is prudent to invest in your application at the outset.
Trade-marks can last indefinitely, subject to continued use and to renewal every fifteen years.