We’ve all heard the crowdfunding success stories from Pozible, Kickstarter and a plethora of other platforms.
But with reward comes risk. Budding business owners must take steps to protect their IP before pushing the button on a crowd funding campaign. Failure to do so may result in a loss of IP rights or worse, litigation.
For those who might be considering raising cash via a crowdfunding campaign, here are five things to consider before you launch.
- Determine what type of IP (copyright, trade mark, design, patents, confidential information) is associated with your project.
- Undertake your due diligence. Is your project infringing a third party’s IP rights? For example, are you using a trade mark that is the same as or similar to someone else’s trade mark? Are you using a third party’s pictures, drawings or copy? Is your product infringing on a third party’s patent?
- Don’t disclose. If your project involves an invention or a design do not disclose it to the public before filing a patent or design application (or at least obtaining professional advice about patents and designs). Public disclosure at the wrong time may destroy your ability to obtain patent or design protection.
- Formulate a long-term IP strategy. What type of IP protection do you need? In what jurisdictions? When should you file applications?
- Protect your trade mark. If you have chosen a new trade mark, file a trade mark application. Failure to do so may result in a third party filing an application for your mark.
These five steps apply not only to those seeking investment through crowdfunding, but to any entrepreneur or business owner seeking to launch a new product or business.