Wednesday, 18 February 2015

Important IP Considerations for Entrepreneurs

Now here's a remedy for the post lunch slump or a bad case of the itis. Speed date on IP with a bunch of talented entrepreneurs on their ideas, ventures and thoughts at around 2pm! It's the equivalent of an intravenous dose of caffeine administered in an ice bath. And cats are jumpy in water as it is.

This Afro Leo has just spent the last 90 minutes with some of Africa's most talented entrepreneurs fielding questions in one-on-one sessions on their IP requirements, across Africa.

Hosted by Bowman Gilfillan's David Geral and their client African Leadership Network, this Afro Leo spoke to founders of BanaPads, Capture, GiftedMom, Learning Horizon, Madlyn Cazalis, MDAS, Nikweli, TastemakersAfrica and Stawli Foods. You can find out more about them at ALN's website here. I shall be following them too.

Here is a summary of important aspects a start-up should know and consider from an IP perspective:
  • The 5 basic forms of IP (including knowhow) and how they link into your business:
    • Patents
    • Trade Marks (including domain names and social media names)
    • Copyright
    • Know-How
    • Designs
  • How to use non-disclosure agreements effectively
  • That IP is territorial, creating a cost of doing business in each new country that needs to be funded and managed
  • The importance of a pre-clearance trade mark search
  • How to ensure that copyright developed outside the business eg in logos, computer programs, database creations etc gets licensed or assigned into the business
  • How telling a story using basic IP protection can make start-ups attractive for funders or valuers 
  • How it is not all about IP; the value often lies in effective implementation, first-to-market advantage and hard work
  • Where to house the IP considering tax efficiencies, ease of enforcement, ease of maintenance and marketing credibility
  • How to set-up basic processes for patenting and knowhow protection
  • The importance of IP clauses in agreements with employees, partnerships and sub contractors
  • Why its not always about exclusivity, and the value of open innovation
  • Where to get valuable information, for free
  • The value of local advice

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