When starting your own business you're likely to enthusiastically dive right into the market and generate as much exposure as possible early on. However, there are some Intellectual Property steps you just don't want to miss in the early beginnings, in order to avoid trouble further along the road.

Taylor Wessing lets you in on the 4 most common IP mistakes and how to avoid them:

1. Trusting your business relationships don’t need any ‘formal paperwork’

A lot of the legal disputes concern old business partners who have fallen out with each other over time. Even if there is no fighting involved (yet), it’s easy for two parties to want to go into different directions at some point in time. Avoid a lot of arguments by sitting down together at the start and writing down the important things you agree on while you’re still on the same page.

2. No clearance before investing

There are not many things more demotivating than seeing all of your hard work and investments being crushed as soon as you hit the market. Before deciding on a final name or design, check whether it is already being protected by someone else’s older IP rights. If so, it’s better to (slightly) change strategies early on than being summoned to cease your activities after you have invested a lot of time and money.

3. Not registering your brand / design / invention

If your chosen brand name is still free (good on you for checking!), register it as a protected brand yourself. This will give you more opportunity to tackle competitor’s knock offs. The same goes for any products suitable for intellectual property protection, such as designs and inventions.

4. Ignoring infringement

Finally, don’t just ignore other parties infringing your intellectual property rights. Once your business really takes off, competitors will multiply and nibble away your market share before you know it. Investing in keeping the market clean is easy and affordable if it is done right away. Waiting too long might even cause you to lose your intellectual property rights!