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During the due diligence process, a lot of enterprises makes certain errors with regard to their intellectual property. These mistakes can have long-term effects on the value of the company, yet a little thought can easily avoid them. Here are the ten most common intellectual property rights errors – here we discuss how and why these pitfalls should be avoided.
Leaving patent applications too late
There are certain rules that apply to patent applications, and non-compliance with these rules could mean that a company loses out on the advantages offered by protecting intellectual property. It is best to make patents applications as soon as possible, so that there is no chance of missing out.
Excessively narrow claims
Many entrepreneurs make the mistake of making patent claims that are insufficiently broad in their scope. Such narrow definitions for patent claims mean that a rival enterprise can easily circumvent the patent claims, and exploit the invention or innovation for its own ends. It is not easy to decide on the scope a claim should encompass, but it is important to include as wide a definition as possible.
Wilful patent infringement will be punished, and enterprises infringing on another venture’s patent will have to pay heavy fines. So steps should be taken to ensure that neither accidental nor deliberate patent infringement takes place.
Protecting software only with copyrights
Copyrights are not very expensive, and safeguarding intellectual property with the use of copyrights is quite common. But while this is effective for certain kinds of work, reverse engineering on some material can help a competitor understand it thoroughly, and use it to his or her own advantage. In such cases, it is better to protect intellectual property with a patent as well as a copyright.
Unspecified ownership of intellectual property
Sometimes the intellectual property of an enterprise is jointly owned by several parties – employees, consultants, customers and vendors may all have contributed to a particular innovation. So it is important to clearly identify the ownership of any intellectual property so that problems that competition could take advantage of do not arise later.
Failing to take legal implications into account
If the legal implications are not taken into account, especially with regard to amended claims and scope of patents, various problems can arise. The doctrine of equivalence should be understood clearly in this context.
Failing to emphasise the significance of confidentiality
Trade secrets and confidential information that the employees of an enterprise are privy to should be carefully safeguarded while, for instance, patents are pending. Non-disclosure agreements with employees will be useful in this regard. A failure to attend to this aspect of intellectual property protection could cost an enterprise dearly.
Neglecting to exploit the benefits of tax shelters
A new enterprise should not omit to use offshore strategies that will cut down on tax payments. When you want to protect your intellectual property rights at a global level, you will find that global tax strategies, wisely applied, will make things easier as far as taxes are concerned.
Slow response to notifications from patent authorities
To avoid delays, act quickly when required by the patent authorities in your area. See that legal requirements are met promptly, especially if there are claims against your patent.
Cost cutting on legal expenses
With the aim of saving money, some enterprises hire patent professionals based on the low fees they charge, but this could prove unwise in the long run. It is essential to hire professionals who are highly competent as well as experienced, and it is worth paying the higher fees that skilled patent lawyers charge.